Indian cheats duped me, says Australian ‘drug smuggler’

Sydney, Aug 12 (IANS) A 91-year-old Australian arrested last month with 4.5 kgs of cocaine concealed in soap bars has alleged that he was duped by some Indians he befriended online, a media report said on Wednesday.

Police arrested retired oral surgeon Victor Twartz at Sydney Airport on July 8 with 27 bars of soap filled with cocaine.

Before his appearance in court, he said he “was taken advantage of” by Indian scammers in “Delhi”, The New Daily reported.

Police said the retired doctor was “legitimately scammed” by an organised crime syndicate in New Delhi which gained his trust before luring him overseas.

As Twartz was about to board his plane at the airport in New Delhi to return to Sydney, he was allegedly handed a bag that he was told contained gifts for a person in Australia.

“I looked carefully what was in the soap… I scraped it and it was certainly soap but there were these streaks of white stuff in between. I thought it was additional perfume or that was the style of Indian soap,” he was quoted as saying.

“I’m 1,000 percent against any drug. I don’t even drink alcohol,” he said.

Charged with importing a commercial quantity of cocaine, Twartz is currently out on bail.

Meanwhile, Australian Federal Police’s acting assistant commissioner Wayne Buchhorn said claiming ignorance about drugs hidden in one’s luggage “does not automatically mean you will not face criminal charges”.

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