updated 5/1/2009 5:00:32 AM ET 2009-05-01T09:00:32

The elderly man claimed he needed the oranges in his suitcase to keep up his vitamin C level, but Italian police soon realized the "C" stood for cocaine.

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Customs officers in Rome on Thursday arrested a 76-year-old Dutch man who tried to smuggle in more than 13 pounds (six kilograms) of cocaine packed into oranges that had been emptied of their pulp.

The man arrested on international drug trafficking charges at Rome's Leonardo da Vinci airport had arrived from Buenos Aires, Argentina and said he was on his way back to the Netherlands after a vacation.

Police at the airport said the drugs would have had a street value of euro5 million ($6.6 million).

In a separate bust, police arrested five Italians and a man from Paraguay when they seized more than 550 pounds (250 kilograms) of cocaine concealed in the trunks of tropical plants shipped from Argentina to a northern Italian port.

More on: Italy | Cocaine

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