Holy smoke! Vatican car seized with cocaine, cannabis

The car -- which also contained 200 grammes (seven ounces) 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 AFP.

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.

SAPA

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24