Scam saw US surgeon smuggle €100k of cocaine into Dublin
A retired US surgeon with dementia who fell victim to a phishing scam which culminated in him bringing €100,000 of cocaine into Dublin Airport has gone home after avoiding a jail term.
Dr Carlos Cruz Soriano (76), inset left, began responding to phishing emails after becoming isolated following his retirement from a "glittering career", Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard. The scammers told him a long lost relative had died and he could inherit US$2.3m. They gained Soriano's trust over a number of years, including sending him on a "dry run" to Hong Kong, before flying him to Colombia where he was given paperwork as well as a "gift" in a red bag for Irish banking officials.
Soriano, of Cove Circle, Riverview, Florida, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine valued at €107,000 inside the red bag in the arrivals hall at Dublin Airport on September 1, 2015.
Judge Melanie Greally said Soriano's mental health had contributed to him being susceptible to manipulation by "sinister forces". She imposed a fully suspended five-year sentence on condition Soriano leave the country within 24 hours.