91-year-old Aussie charged with im­port­ing co­caine into Syd­ney

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

A 91-year-old re­tired sur­geon has been charged with im­port­ing co­caine hid­den in soap into Aus­tralia, prompt­ing po­lice to warn trav­el­ers to be­ware they are not tricked into be­com­ing drug mules.

Vic­tor Twartz, of Syd­ney, was re­leased on bail when he ap­peared in Syd­ney’s Down­ing Cen­ter Lo­cal Court charged with im­port­ing a com­mer­cial quan­tity of co­caine last month. He did not en­ter a plea and will ap­pear in court next on Oct. 6.

The re­tired oral sur­geon faces a po­ten­tial life prison sen­tence if he is con­victed of im­port­ing 4.5 kilo­grams of the drug into Syd­ney Air­port on a July 8 flight from New Delhi.

A search of Twartz’s lug­gage found 27 pack­ages of soap that tested pos­i­tive for co­caine, po­lice said.

Po­lice say it ap­pears that Twartz was scammed by a group of peo­ple he had be­friended online be­fore his trip. Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice or­ga­nized crime com­man­der David Stewart de­clined to say whether Twartz had been promised any­thing by the group, but said he had been in con­tact with them over sev­eral months.

Po­lice were tipped off by Twartz’s fam­ily about the email ex­changes but did not stop him from leav­ing Aus­tralia, Stewart said.

“There is cer­tainly some ev­i­dence to sug­gest that this man was le­git­i­mately scammed by this group and ex­ploited,” Stewart told re­porters. “There were warn­ings is­sued to him about his ac­tiv­i­ties both here and over­seas ... but you can only pro­vide peo­ple with cer­tain warn­ings. At the end of the day, they’ll make their own choices.”

Twartz told Aus­tralian Broad­cast­ing Corp. that he met peo­ple in New Delhi whom he had be­friended online. As he was about to board his plane to re­turn to Syd­ney, he was handed a bag that he was told con­tained gifts for some­one in Aus­tralia, he said.

As Twartz left court on Tues­day, a re­porter asked if he had been taken ad­van­tage of. Twartz replied: “Al­ways, al­ways.”

Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice man­ager Wayne Buch­horn warned that un­wit­tingly bring­ing drugs into Aus­tralia could re­sult in charges.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.