Italian priest arrested on drug dealing charges

Priest alleged to have spent parish funds on drugs.

A parish priest in Italy’s Tuscany region has been placed under house arrest on drug-related charges, according to news agency ANSA.

The priest, identified as 40-year-old Francesco Spagnesi, is accused of drug dealing and taking money from the parish coffers to buy drugs.

The priest faces charges relating to the sale and import of drugs, the Prato public prosecutor’s office announced in a press conference on Tuesday.

Don Francesco Spagnesi

It is understood that the priest became implicated in a police investigation after an acquaintance of his was found in possession of a litre of GBL, a so-called “date rape” drug, imported from Holland via the internet.

Italian media report that the pair organised parties centred around sex and drugs, with the priest under investigation for his role in the sale of cocaine and GBL to dozens of people.

Spagnesi, who has stood down from his posts in the parish of the Annunciazione in the Castellina district of Prato, is alleged to have embezzled tens of thousands of parish funds, according to media reports.