An Australian national who was recently arrested for alleged drug trafficking and possession in Bali is also suspected of manufacturing drugs at his home on the island, police say, after authorities seized items allegedly containing psychotropic compounds.
The 43-year-old foreigner, identified as TJM, was arrested last week along with two local residents, for alleged possession of 0.86 grams of shabu (crystal meth), which they reportedly planned on using together.
In a press conference yesterday, the Denpasar Police revealed the finding of other items suspected of being used to manufacture drugs at TJM’s home, including five jerry cans containing chemicals and flat pans containing various items such as green-colored powder, leaf shards, and chocolate-colored batter, among others.
Denpasar Police’s forensics team found that a number of the items contained mitragynine, an active alkaloid commonly found in kratom, a plant indigenous to Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, that has been said to have opioid properties and other stimulant-like effects.
“After our investigation, we found that this has not been regulated under Health Ministry Regulation as a dangerous substance. When in fact it can produce the same effect like other drugs such as shabu, weed, hashish, that can make people high,” Denpasar Police Chief Jansen Avitus Panjaitan said.
Police say TJM, who has been living in Bali for more than two years, has been manufacturing the drugs for about six months, adding that the substance has circulated among his friends, some of whom have become customers. They come in the form of processed powder packed inside capsules, though police also found it in the form of liquid and dodol, a dense and chewy treat commonly found in the region.
“The items would be delivered inside envelopes. Some to Australia, but some also sent around here,” Jansen said.
Despite the discovery and Indonesia’s notoriously harsh drug laws, TJM is only being charged for possession of shabu, as existing laws do not regulate kratom. However, police say they will investigate the matter further, adding that the kratom was sourced from Pontianak, West Kalimantan.
TJM and the other two Indonesians arrested for the possession of shabu each face a maximum of 12 years in jail and a fine of up to IDR8 billion (US$569,758).