Coffee-mate lands MP in hot water with drug patrol


VIP Junglist
Jan 28, 2007
found this funny..

A Conservative MP yesterday revealed that he had been held at gunpoint by soldiers in Colombia who mistook his coffee whitener for cocaine.

Michael Fabricant, 58, the MP for Lichfield and Burntwood, was forced to gulp down several mouthfuls of Coffee-mate to prove he was not carrying drugs as M16 assault rifles and a machine gun were trained on him.

He had been trekking with a friend through mountains near Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast when he was stopped by an armed patrol. Seven soldiers searched his bag and pulled out an unmarked container containing a white substance.

Though Fabricant is fluent in French and German, and has some command of Dutch and Russian, he cannot speak Spanish. "It took some explanation, as I don't speak more than two or three words in Spanish, for them to accept it was Coffee-mate. All they kept shouting at me was 'cocaine, cocaine! Coffee brown, coffee brown'. In their eyes I was carrying raw concentrated cocaine, which I suppose does look quite similar," he said.

Fabricant suggested the soldiers taste the powder themselves, but they refused. "One of them gestured with the butt of his rife for me to sample it instead. I took several mouthfuls and they looked at me as if I was crazy."

Then, he told the BBC yesterday, "they waited a few minutes to see if I collapsed or went delirious and said something completely ridiculous like, I don't know, 'Gordon Brown's got a great personality'. But when I didn't say anything too weird they came to the conclusion that it wasn't cocaine and let me go."

He added: "I was incredibly relieved although, I have to admit, afterwards I felt as sick as a dog."

He was eventually released and allowed to continue his two-week holiday, although shaken by the experience.

"I'm a Conservative MP for a small sleepy city in Staffordshire, I'm not exactly the archetypal cocaine baron. It was hairy stuff. There were seven heavily-armed young men on a foot patrol who approached us as we were walking along a jungle trail."

He added: "I knew Colombia could be a little dangerous, as there is kidnapping and a major drug industry. But I was in a range of mountains north-east of Santa Marta on the coast, which is not generally considered to be drug baron country and is relatively safer than the inland areas."

Lessons had been learned, he said. "I would not wish to unnecessarily cause the risk of a byelection. Next time, I'll make sure the jar is labelled."

Keen to avoid a diplomatic crisis, Fabricant told the BBC yesterday that although Colombian coffee was "really very, very good", he did not trust the local milk, which is why he had brought the coffee whitener with him.

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