2016-03-09 / Front Page

9 lawmakers push for negotiated release of ex-Maine pastor

AUGUSTA (AP) — Nine lawmakers are urging Secretary of State John Kerry to negotiate the release of a retired Maine pastor from a Spanish prison.

The Portland Press Herald reports that Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins says 77-year-old Joseph Martin is serving six years in prison after Spanish customs and border agents found him with more than 3 pounds of cocaine.

The drugs had been hidden in documents that Martin agreed to pick up in South America and was trying to deliver to a woman he had fallen in love with online. The 77-year-old Martin is a retired pastor from Dresden.

Kerry has been asked to work with foreign governments to look at dozens of cases in which American elderly citizens were tricked into serving as drug mules.

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