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German customs officials have intercepted a package addressed to the Vatican containing 14 condoms filled with cocaine.

A government spokesman said a box packed with 340 grammes of the drug, valued at 40,000 euros, was seized in January at the international airport in the eastern city of Leipzig.

The cocaine, posted from an unnamed South American country, was in liquid form. It had been poured into the condoms and placed in the package addressed to the main postal centre at the Vatican.

Authorities handed the parcel to a Vatican police officer with the aim of laying a trap.

But the box was not claimed. German investigators believe the intended recipient, who remains unknown, was tipped off about the interception.

The Vatican office of Interpol is working on the investigation with the Leizpig prosecutor’s office, which could not be reached for comment.

TEXT PUBLISHED BY THE GUARDIAN NEWSPAPER