Drug-Smuggling Colombian Cleric Arrested in Moscow

MOSCOW, January 30 (RIA Novosti) – Russian police detained a Colombian clergyman for attempting to smuggle cocaine through a Moscow airport, the Federal Drug Control Service reported on Wednesday.

The cleric, identified as Fabio Ricardo Rodriguez, attracted the suspicion of the law enforcement officials at Sheremetyevo airport because he seemed sick and nervous.

“He was detained and delivered to a Moscow hospital, where some 13 containers with cocaine were discovered in the man’s digestive tract,” officials said in a statement, but did not say when the arrest took place. “Five more containers with drugs were found in his luggage,” they said.

Rossiya 24 state television showed a bowl full of condoms reportedly filled with drugs, and Rodriguez behind bars dressed in long dark clothes and wearing a crucifix. He claimed in an interview he was forced to smuggle by the Colombian mafia.

Rodriguez served a parish in the Colombian capital Bogota, officials said. He is a member of a breakaway Anglican group in South America, which lists him is a “missionary reverend” on its website.

He faces up to 15 years in jail if convicted.


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