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Back page: Charges dropped against 92-year-old drug mule

SYDNEY (AP) — Prosecutors dropped a charge against a 92-year-old retired surgeon on Friday that alleged he had smuggled 1 million Australian dollars ($700,000) in cocaine hidden on bars of soap into Sydney airport. Victor Twartz was due to appear in the New South Wales District Court in Sydney on a charge of importing a commercial quantity of cocaine, which carries a potential life sentence. But the Sydney resident did not appear and prosecutors told the judge that the charge had been dropped. No explanation was given. Twartz had been scheduled to stand trial later this month. Twartz had said he would fight the charge because criminals had tricked him into carrying 27 soap bars packed with 4.5 kilograms (10 pounds) of cocaine when he returned to Australia from New Delhi on July 8, 2014. Police had used the case to warn travelers about being tricked into becoming drug mules, and said it appeared Twartz was used by a group of people he had befriended online before his trip.


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