An American tourist has been arrested on arrival in Bali after airport police discovered he was attempting to smuggle drugs into the country. The man, known by his initials ANR is 36 years old. He is believed to have traveled to Bali for a vacation, but he is now on course to spend much longer on the Island of the Gods than he anticipated.
ANR was arrested at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport on Tuesday, 11th October. Now he has been charged with a crime, police in Bali have made statements to the press regarding the case. According to the Head of Public Relations for Bali Police, Sata Bayu, ANR has been arrested on Category One Drug charges. A source, a customs officer who must remain anonymous, spoke to local news outlet RadarBali confirming further details of the case.
The source confirmed that at 11.15 am on October 11th, 2022, ANR was flagged by airport security systems. He traveled to Bali via the Singapore Airlines flight SQ 934. The customs officer told reporters, ‘Yes, so when landing at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport, this man got off the plane and entered the arrivals terminal. The X-Ray alarm sounded a sign that there was something suspicious about this person and his belongings’.
It is believed that ANR was compliant when called aside by Airport Customs Officers. The customs officer explained, ‘We, together with the Bali Police, checked his bag. [He] did not dodge and confessed honestly after being found as many as 16 candy pills as evidence of drugs’. He did not immediately hand over the bag containing the drugs, inside offering his other luggage for the search.
During the search of his black rucksack, police found 16-pills. Upon testing, officers discovered that the pills contained tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive substance found in cannabis. The tablets weighed a total of 26.55 grams.
Indonesia has one of the strictest drug laws in the world and takes a zero-tolerance approach to narcotics abuse. However, some countries in South East Asia have made cannabis and cannabis-related products legal, like Thailand. Indonesia remains steadfast that the law will never change on such substances.
Known in Bali as ‘devil pills’ the cannabis edibles found in ANR’s baggage were confirmed to be narcotics by two sources. The customs officer told reporters, ‘Yes, there are 16 candy tablets. BB [drugs] is brownish green in color. The BB was brought to the laboratory, and it was found that it contained the Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Gol I Narcotics, weighing 26.55’.
Officer Sata Bayu told reporters that a criminal investigation is now underway against ANR. He explained, ‘That’s right, the US foreigner is called [ANR]…yes investigators of the Bali Police Directorate of Drugs are currently investigating the network. [The pills] were smuggled from Singapore to Bali’.
The prison sentence for being caught possessing cannabis or cannabis-related products in Indonesia is lengthy. In some cases, the death sentence remains an option for prosecutors in an instance where more than 1kg of marijuana is seized or more than five plants.
In the case of ANR, if he can convince prosecutors the edibles were strictly for personal use, and he had no intent to supply, he faces 12 years in prison or a maximum fine of IDR 8 billion (approx USD 560,000). If he is found to have an intention to supply drugs in Indonesia, he faces up to 15 years in prison and a fine of IDR 10 billion.
In the last few months, there have been a series of drug-related arrests of foreigners in Bali who have been found possessing cannabis or cannabis-related products. In August, an American teacher was arrested at Bali Airport for possessing vape e-liquids that contained marijuana. The 37-year-old was arrested at Bali Airport after disembarking a flight from Kuala Lumpur. He also faces 10-15 years in an Indonesian prison and a considerable fine.
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