91-year-old man turns into drug mule for people he met onlineBy Mason White 5:56 PM August 12, 2015
By: Tanya Malhotra
(Scroll down for video) A family in Australia, believes that their elderly father was used as a drug mule by people who exploited him.
91-year-old Victor Twartz was charged with importing cocaine after he smuggled the drugs hidden in soap bars, prompting police to warn travelers to be careful not to be tricked into becoming mules.
Twartz, who is a retired surgeon, was released on bail after he appeared at a Sydney court.
The retired oral surgeon faces a possible life sentence if convicted of importing 4.5 kilograms (10 pounds) of the drugs on a flight from New Delhi, India, to Sydney.
A search of Twartz’s luggage revealed 27 packages of soap that tested positive for cocaine, and has a street value of over $1 million, police said.
Police believe that Twartz was exploited by a group of people whom he had befriended online before his trip.
Australian Federal Police organized crime commander David Stewart declined to say whether Twartz was given money or promised anything by the group. However, he confirmed that Twartz had been in contact with them for several months.
The family of Twartz alerted police about the emails between the elderly man and the criminals, but police did not stop him from going out of Australia, Stewart said.
“There is certainly some evidence to suggest that this man was legitimately scammed and exploited by this group,” Stewart added.
He also said that Twartz was warned about his activities, both at home and abroad. “You can only provide people with certain warnings. At the end of the day, they’ll make their own choices,” Stewart explained.
Twartz said that he met the people in New Delhi, and when he was about to board his plane to return to Sydney, he was given a bag that they said contained gifts for someone in Australia.