Pope Francis may have often spoken out against the "evil" of drug use, but the Vatican was facing embarrassment on Tuesday after 9 pounds of cocaine was found in a car bearing diplomatic plates associated with the Holy See.
The car, which was stopped and searched in France, belonged to Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Maria Mejia, who had entrusted it to two Italian men.
Aged 91, the cardinal retired in 2003 and holds the title of emeritus librarian at the Holy See.
The two men, aged 30 and 41, had reportedly been told by his private secretary to take the car for a routine service.
Instead they promptly drove to Spain, where they allegedly bought the cocaine and from there drove into France. They reportedly believed that the car's diplomatic status would place them above suspicion.
But on Sunday they were stopped at a toll station near Chambery in the French Alps, en route back to Italy, where police found the cocaine hidden in suitcases and bags, along with seven ounces of cannabis.