(MADRID) — A Spanish court docket on Thursday discovered a 77-year-old American man responsible of drug smuggling and sentenced him to seven years in jail, rejecting his protection that he was duped.
Victor Stemberger had advised the Madrid provincial court docket he didn’t know cocaine was hidden within the jackets he carried internationally on behalf of a person he thought represented the United Nations. Stemberger spent over a yr in pretrial detention earlier than his trial began earlier this month,
The court docket concluded that discovered that he was carrying 2.four kilograms (greater than 5 kilos) of cocaine as he stopped over within the Spanish capital on a journey from Sao Paulo, Brazil, to Hong Kong. The drug was expertly sewn into 4 puffer jackets Stemberger had carried.
The Vietnam conflict veteran and former enterprise coach from the state of Virginia advised the court docket he was requested to take the jackets by a person known as Frank or Franklin, whom he met after receiving an e-mail from an unidentified particular person, in response to the court docket’s written verdict within the case.
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The decision stated Stemberger admitted transporting the jackets, which he was advised have been items, however stated he didn’t know they contained medication.
The court docket discovered his story “implausible,” including that it was “inconceivable” that he would take the jackets with none reward. The court docket additionally fined Stemberger 278,727 euros ($329,000).
Stemberger’s household claims he has had cognitive points since he suffered a extreme mind harm 15 years in the past. He had no earlier legal file.
His household in the US expressed dismay on the verdict.
“We simply can’t perceive why they might sentence him to jail with this type of proof displaying he was a sufferer,” his son, Victor Stemberger Jr., stated in a written assertion.
Protection lawyer Juan Ospina offered the court docket with a psychological report that stated his shopper suffers from dementia and that Stemberger’s capacity to interpret actuality is altered to such an extent that it compromises his decision-making.
The U.S. Justice Division suggested Spain that it believed Stemberger was duped into appearing as a drug mule for a West African legal community, like many different aged or weak folks lately.