91-year-old Australian oral surgeon, Victor Twartz, has been charged for importing 27 bars of soap with 4.5kg of cocaine hidden in them, according to Daily mail.
Mr. Twartz was released from Sydney’s Downing Center Local Court on bail and was charged with importing a commercial quantity of cocaine last month.
The man, who comes Sydney’s north-west, was arrested after flying home from New Delhi. Australian Federal Police (AFP) had searched Mr. Twartz’s luggage last month and found that the 27 uncovered packets of soap tested positive for cocaine.
If Mr. Twartz is convicted, there is a possibility of facing a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, according to Daily Mail.
ABC’s 7.30 reports that Twartz says he was given the bag by people he met at an all expenses paid trip to India. Before the trip he had befriended the same people online, interacting by email.
“They … took me to the airport and gave it (the soap) to me at the last minute,” Twartz told ABC’s 7.30.
His son told the press that his father has no criminal background, he is a devout Seventh Day Adventurist and very religious.
Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commander David Stewart believes that Mr. Twartz had been targeted for some time saying, “These syndicates often target the lonely and the vulnerable among people within our society, and build that rapport, that trust. It’s very much based on that loyalty that led them into that tangled web.”
In reaction to this case and others like this one the AFP have issued a fresh warning about the dangers of drug-mule scams.
“People can expect they will be charged if they knowingly bring drugs into Australia, or are reckless or wilfully blind to the fact that there could be narcotics concealed inside their luggage or items they are carrying,” Buchhorn, Australian Federal Police manager, said in a statement.