Colombian cleric held for drug smuggling in Moscow

Moscow, Jan 30 (IANS/RIA Novosti) A Colombian clergyman has been detained in Moscow for attempting to smuggle cocaine stuffed in his digestive tract.

The Federal Drug Control Service said the cleric was identified as Fabio Ricardo Rodriguez.

The man attracted the suspicion of 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.

Five more containers with drugs were found in his luggage.

The Rossiya 24 state TV 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 as a "missionary reverend" on its website.

He faces up to 15 years in jail if convicted.

--IANS/RIA Novosti



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