St Louis heroin dealer's religious claims rejected

Heroin - not for religious use (Getty)
Heroin - not for religious use (Getty)

A man handing out heroin has failed to convince a judge it was his right to do so as part of his religion.

Timothy Anderson, 40, argued prosecutors in St Louis, Missouri violated his rights because distributing heroin was "an exercise of his sincerely held religious belief".

He claimed to be a "student of esoteric and mysticism studies", and was passing out the heroin to "the sick, lost, blind, lame, deaf and dead members of Gods' [sic] Kingdom".

Anderson's argument was rejected by the judge and he was sent to prison for 27 years.

Eighth Circuit Court Judge Raymond Gruender not only questioned whether Anderson's beliefs were sincerely held, and it couldn't be compared to substances like peyote - used by Native Americans in religious rituals - because it was "simply more dangerous".

The recipients of the heroin weren't using it out of any religious belief either, he noted.

"Anderson does not even allege that the recipients of his heroin used it for their own religious purposes. Rather, he alleges only that his distribution allowed him to exercise his own religious beliefs."