Holy smoke: Vatican car seized with cocaine

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LYON: The Vatican was left red-faced on Tuesday after it emerged that a car bearing its diplomatic plates had been stopped in France with four kilograms of cocaine on board.

The car—which also contained 200 grams of cannabis—belonged to 91-year-old Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mejia, emeritus librarian at the Holy See, who retired in 2003 and who is currently bedridden.

Pope Francis, a fellow Argentinian, visited Mejia, who was confined to a hospital in Rome after a heart attack, just two days after being elected.

French radio reported that the cardinal’s private secretary entrusted the vehicle to two Italian men to take it for its annual check-up.


The two men promptly drove to Spain to buy the drugs, thinking that they would be protected by the diplomatic plates, according to RTL radio — a scenario not yet confirmed by legal sources.

The pair were picked up on Sunday at a toll station near Chambery in the French Alps on their way back.

Neither of the men has a Vatican diplomatic passport so the Vatican is not directly implicated, French legal sources told Agence France-Presse.

The Vatican confirmed that the car had been stopped in France with the drugs on board but stressed that no staff were involved in the incident.

AFP

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