March 12,

A WOMAN wanted on drugs charges, whose body was hidden in an upscale hotel room for up to a year, died for "religious reasons", her boyfriend has said from jail.

The fully-clothed body of 33-year-old Monique Trepp was discovered wedged into a plastic storage container filled with dry ice when police conducted a drug raid on the Newport Beach hotel room in Southern California.

The room was registered to her boyfriend, New Zealander Stephen David Royds, 46, who was arrested for possession of cocaine for sale. He has not been charged in Ms Trepp's death, said prosecutors in Orange County, south of Los Angeles.

He has pleaded not guilty on the drugs charges. During a brief court hearing, his bail was set at $US1 million ($A1.08 million).

He gave local newspaper, the Orange County Register, a cryptic explanation of her death. "Everything that happened was for religious reasons," he was quoted as saying.

He repeated the phrase four times in a brief interview from prison with the paper, but did not explain what he meant by it, the Associated Press has reported.

Toy night-vision goggles were also found in the hotel room, along with sake bottles with lamp sockets stuffed into them.

Prosecutors have said wrapped Christmas presents and drug paraphernalia were also discovered. "It was apparently pretty hard to walk around in there; there was so much stuff on the floor," one told the paper.

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