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 on Oct. 6. Twartz faces a potential life prison sentence if he is convicted of importing 10 pounds 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 say it appears that Twartz was scammed by a group of people he had befriended online before his trip. Twartz tells Australian Broadcasting Corp. that he met up with those people in New Delhi, and 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. As Twartz left court today, a reporter asked if he had been taken advantage of. "Always, always," he replied. (Read more drug smuggling stories.)