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January 12, 2008
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Netherlands 'priest' with 7.7 pounds of cocaine arrested

By The Associated Press

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — A man claiming to be a Catholic priest was arrested Friday at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport after he was caught carrying 7.7 pounds of cocaine under his robes, a spokesman for Dutch border police said.

The suspect, whose identity was being traced, initially refused to undergo a routine body check ''for religious reasons,'' spokesman Robert van Kapel said.

He said the man was then spotted lining up at a different entrance gate. He was searched and the drugs were found in packages taped to his body.

''We've seen a lot of things, baseballs filled with cocaine, wine bottles, plaster casts, but this is a first,'' Van Kapel said.

He said the man, who was traveling from Bolivia, continued to insist he is a priest and did not confess any wrongdoing, arguing his rights had been violated by the search.

Van Kapel said that was bunk.

''If you want to enter (Europe) you have to pass a security check, you have to cooperate and you can't refuse a body search,'' he said. ''He'll be brought before a judge today.''






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