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Spain: Virginia man tells judge he was duped into carrying drugs

Posted at 2:52 PM, Jul 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-16 14:53:00-04

MADRID -- A 77-year-old American man facing drug smuggling charges in Spain has told a judge that he didn’t know cocaine had been hidden in the jackets he carried across the world on behalf of a man he thought represented the United Nations.

The U.S. believes that Vietnam-veteran Victor Stemberger was duped into acting as a drug mule for a West African criminal network, but prosecutors in Spain are seeking a 7.5-year prison sentence.

The Virginia resident took the stand at a Madrid provincial court after spending just over one year in preventive jail accused of carrying 2.4 kilograms (more than 5 pounds) of the drug expertly sewn into bubble jackets he carried from Sao Paulo, in Brazil, to Hong Kong.