Italian Priest Arrested On Suspicion of Dealing Drugs

By McCarton Ackerman 07/21/14

Father Stefano Maria Cavalletti was arrested in the midst of flushing drugs down the toilet.

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It seems that Sunday services may have been getting a bit rowdy in a village in Northern Italy after a local priest was arrested on suspicion of dealing drugs.

Father Stefano Maria Cavalletti was the Catholic priest in the town of Carciano di Stresa before being arrested for possession of cocaine in Milan. He had gone missing last weekend and a replacement priest was brought in to cover in his absence, with the police failing to track him down for another two days.

Concerned residents at an apartment building in Milan called police to report a drunken Cavalletti screaming and shouting on their block. When he was finally tracked down, the priest was found ripping up his passport and trying to flush the drugs down a toilet. He later told police that he had been abusing the drugs as a means of coping with depression. But although it doesn’t appear that Cavalletti had any intention to deal the drugs, Italian law presumes that the owner of the substance is intending to deal it if the weight is above a certain amount.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time he has found himself in trouble with the law. He was given a suspended sentence last September by a court in Verbania after allegedly trying to swindle money from an elderly woman. His congregation said in a statement that they were "profoundly disconcerted and saddened" by the arrest and were “praying to God for light to be shed on the incident.”

Cavalletti is but one of several men of the cloth to get into trouble with drugs in recent years. Back in 2012, a Connecticut priest was given the unflattering name of “Monsignor Meth” after being arrested for trafficking the drugs out of his home. Kevin Wallin was the pastor at St. Augustine Parish in Bridgeport for nine years before resigning in 2011, citing personal issues, but his priesthood powers were permanently revoked after his arrest the following year. He is still awaiting sentencing, but faces 11-14 years behind bars.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.