Priest Who Blessed Bolivia Prez Nabbed in Coke Lab

Aymara priest found with 530lbs of cocaine
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2010 2:33 AM CDT
Priest Who Blessed Bolivia Prez Nabbed in Coke Lab
Aymara priest Valentin Mejillones, center, arrives at court in La Paz yesterday.   (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

(Newser) – Chewing coca leaves has a strong—and legal—place in the Aymara culture of Bolivian president and former coca farmer Evo Morales. Running a lab churning out hundreds of pounds of processed cocaine, however, doesn't. The Aymara priest who presided over Morales' traditional blessing ceremony has been arrested after a cocaine lab and 530 pounds of liquid cocaine were found at his home, Reuters reports.

Morales' vice president says the priest won't get any special treatment. "He was a person who moved within the Andean religious structure," he said. "Whether he's a priest or not, if he's committed a crime, he won't get any kind of protection when he faces justice." (Read more Bolivia stories.)

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