A 43-year-old Australian was arrested by customs officials at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport on Friday after he arrived on a flight from Bangkok, Thailand, evidently carrying 1.7 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, officials said.
The man, identified as Michael Sacatides, caught the attention of customs officers after an x-ray scan of his luggage revealed suspicious packages, Bagus Endro, a customs official, told reporters.
“We suspected him as he walked through the x-ray machine. The officers checked his luggage and found four plastic bags of methamphetamine,” he said, adding that Sacatides said he obtained the drug, known locally as shabu-shabu, from an Indian man in Bangkok.
Under Indonesia’s harsh drugs laws, Sacatides could face the death penalty if found guilty of attempting to smuggle a class A drug into the country.
The suspect, who arrived on an AirAsia flight from the Thai capital, where he reportedly worked as a kick-boxing instructor, was being interrogated at the airport before being handed over to Bali Police.
It is understood that Australian consular officials in Bali, including acting consul-general Brent Hall, have been alerted and will be providing assistance to the man.
Seven Australians — including high-profile prisoner Schapelle Corby — are serving sentences in Bali for drugs offences, ranging from 20 years to life, and other three are on death row and in the process of final appeals.
A New Zealand-born Australian resident in Bali, Angus McCaskill, was arrested in July allegedly in possession of 3.58 grams of cocaine and is awaiting trial.