The car with Vatican number plates was stopped by customs officers as it passed a border control in France today.
Two Italians aged 41 and 30 were arrested after four kilos of cocaine and 150 grams of cannabis were found on board.
The identity of the two men has not been revealed. The Vatican has stressed that no employee or member of the Holy See was directly involved.
The vehicle belongs to 91 year old Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mejia, a former archivist and librarian of Holy Roman Church. The cardinal is currently convalescing after suffering a heart attack.
According to a reconstruction provided to journalists by Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, the cardinal’s secretary had lent the vehicle to the two Italians to take it for a service.
Instead, they took advantage of the situation, driving it to Spain to buy a consignment of drugs because they thought the diplomatic plates would allow them to avoid border controls. Instead they were stopped near Lyon while they were driving the vehicle and remain in custody.
The Holy See has confirmed news of their arrest. Father Lombardi said he had no more to add but stressed that “no employee or member of the Vatican is involved in the affair.”