A continuing Anglican priest has been arrested by customs officials at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, accused of smuggling cocaine into Russia.
State television broadcaster Rossiya 24 reported that Fr. Fabio Ricardo Rodriguez was arrested on 30 Jan 2013 after the priest’s behavior attracted the attention of Federal Drug Control Service officers. After his arrival from Paris, Fr. Rodriguez appeared unwell and acted in a nervous manner.
“He was detained and delivered to a Moscow hospital, where some 13 containers with cocaine were discovered in the man’s digestive tract,” police told the RIA/Novosti news agency. “Five more containers with drugs were found in his luggage.”
The police reported that papers found on Fr. Rodriguez indicated he was a priest of the Holy Catholic Church—Western Rite. The church’s website indicates Fr. Rodriguez is a missionary priest based in Bogota, Colombia.
Fr. Rodriguez told Russian reporters he had been blackmailed into serving as a “mule” by a Colombian drug cartel who had threatened his family. If convicted of smuggling, the priest could face up to 15 years imprisonment.