A car with license plates registered to the Vatican was stopped in the French Alps carrying nine pounds of cocaine and 20 ounces of pot, and two Italian men are in jail, the Daily Mail is reporting.
The car, a Jaguar, is the personal vehicle of Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mejia, a Vatican librarian who has been in the hospital the past several weeks recovering from a heart attack. According to the Daily Mail, Cardinal Mejia’s gave the vehicle to the men to take it for routine maintenance. Instead, the mechanics drove to Spain to pick up a load of drugs.
Two mechanics have been arrested for using a Vatican car to smuggle marijuana. Or as the Pope put it, “This incense is GREAT!” #fallonmono
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) September 17, 2014
The men, whose names have not been released as of this post, apparently believed that the car’s diplomatic license plates would allow them to pass through checkpoints without any trouble, according to Russia Today. French police, however, didn’t see it that way, and the Vatican car was searched at a checkpoint in Chambéry, in the French Alps, where police found the drugs in a suitcase.
Since the men were not using Vatican passports, the Vatican is not in any way connected to the smuggling. Vatican spokesperson Father Federico Lombardi issued a statement distancing the Vatican from the smugglers.
“Cardinal Mejia’s car carrying drugs was effectively blocked by the French police but the cardinal, who is ill… it is totally unrelated.”
In addition to the famed Popemobile, the Vatican maintains a fleet of vehicles for its several hundred residents and employees. According to Fox News, Pope Francis himself, who was known to travel around Buenos Aires in city buses back when he was a Cardinal, has visited the Vatican garages to see if the vehicles meet his standards of humility. He has called upon members of the Vatican to eschew Jaguars and BMWs in favor of more humble cars, and use the savings to give to the poor. He’s also been known to putter around Rome in a 1984 Renault, giving the Swiss Guard fits, according to Huffington Post.
Despite his fresh approach to the Vatican’s flair for luxury, Pope Francis has not been so forward-thinking when it comes to the issue of drugs. According to this Inquisitr report, he has opposed efforts to legalize marijuana, and calls drug use “an evil.”
In case you’re wondering what a car with Vatican license plates looks like, here’s an example.
The SCV designation on Vatican cars stands for Stato Della Citta Del Vaticano (State of Vatican City).
[Images courtesy of: Underdesign, Blogspot]