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Police find that 'holy sand' was drugs

  • Story Highlights
  • Police: Man stopped at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport dressed as a priest
  • Initially refused to be searched, saying that he was a religious person
  • Found to have $155,000 worth of cocaine strapped to his legs under his vestments
  • Officers trying to establish whether the man, on flight from Peru, is a priest
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(CNN) -- A man dressed as a priest caught at Amsterdam's airport with three kilos of cocaine under his vestments claimed to police that his packages contained "holy sand", Dutch police said.

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Security officials conducting a normal security check at Schiphol airport last year.

Police stopped the man at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport as he was transiting on a flight from South America, Robert Van Aapel, a spokesman for the Dutch Royal Military Police told CNN by phone Saturday.

"He refused to be searched saying that he was a religious person and it was not allowed," Van Aapel said.

"However, this is normal procedure so our officers insisted. They asked him again and after the second time they carried out the search and discovered the man had packs strapped to his legs below his priest's clothes. He told us they contained holy sand," he said.

He said the man, who is aged around 40 and a Bolivian national, was arrested Thursday after arriving in to the airport on a flight from Lima, Peru. He was attempting to transit on a flight to Milan when he was apprehended with the cocaine, worth around €105,000 ($155,000).

The Bolivian appeared in court Friday on charges of drug smuggling, Van Aapel said.

Dutch police are trying to establish if the man is a real priest after he claimed to be a senior member of the clergy in the Bolivian capital La Paz, he added. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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