A Philippines woman faces a possible death sentence after being caught trying to smuggle 2.4 kilograms of heroin through Ngurah Rai International Airport on Monday.
Carolina Sarmiento Bautista, 41, was arrested after customs officers searched her luggage and found the drugs, worth an estimated Rp7 billion (US$770,000) on the street. She has been charged under article 113 of the 2009 law on narcotics, which carries a maximum sentence of death.
Ngurah Rai’s customs chief, Bambang Wahyudi, said Bautista arrived at 7.30am on Monday on an AirAsia flight from Kuala Lumpur and officers searched her luggage after she appeared nervous as her bags went through the x-ray machine. The heroin was found taped beneath the liner in one of the bags.
Wahyudi said Bautista told customs officers an Indian man she met while on holiday in Kuala Lumpur had paid her $1,000 (Rp9.05 million) to take the heroin to Jakarta via Bali.
The arrest is the latest in a series of smuggling attempts by drug mules foiled by Bali airport authorities. They have been linked by officials to syndicates operating out of Iran and Malaysia.
Last month a Denpasar court sentenced eight Iranian men to life in prison for attempting to smuggle 4.7 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine pills into Bali in December.
The most high-profile heroin smuggling case is that of the Bali Nine, a group of Australians caught with 8.9 kilograms of the drug in 2005. Three of them are on death row in Kerobokan.
Two weeks ago an Australian citizen, New Zealand-born Angus McCaskill, an investment adviser originally known by his Maori name, Willie Rare, was arrested at the Pepito supermarket in Tuban carrying 3.85 grams of cocaine in five bags.
Australian Schapelle Corby is serving 20 years in Kerobokan for smuggling 4.2 kilograms of marijuana into Bali.