An Australian man arrested by customs officials at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport after he arrived on a flight from Bangkok allegedly carrying 1.7 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine has insisted the drug is not his.
Michael Sacatides, 43, 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.
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 in Bali on October 1 an AirAsia flight from the Thai capital, where he reportedly worked as a kick-boxing instructor, was interrogated at the airport before being handed over to Bali Police.
During questioning Sacatides told police he had borrowed the suitcase the packets of drugs were found in from an Indian man in Bangkok, unaware that it was packed with the narcotic.
Police said they were seeking the assistance of Interpol to find the Indian national in Thailand.
Australian consular officials in Bali, including acting consul-general Brent Hall, have been providing assistance to Sacatides, who has appointed high-profile Bali lawyer Erwin Siregar, who represented fellow Australian Schapelle Corby, to handle his defence.
Seven Australians — including 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.