Two Thai Nationals Arrested for Crystal Meth Smuggling

Crystal Meth SmugglingLast month, two Thai nationals were arrested at Ngurah Rai Airport in Bali after attempts were made to smuggle over one kilogram of crystal methamphetamine out of the country.

Prakob Seetasang, an electrician, and Radisson Phenlamat, a tattooist, were arrested on May 13 after customs officers grew suspicious of irregularities on their screening equipment.

Both men were subjected to a belongings search, before they were taken to the BIMC Hospital in Kuta, Badung for body and X-ray scans. The X-rays revealed that foreign objects were contained in the digestive tracts of both men.

Officials stated that the foreign objects were narcotics the men had attempted to conceal by swallowing them. Once removed, 100 bags of crystal meth, known as shabu in Bali, were recovered – weighing 1.08 kilograms. The meth had a local street value of IDR 1.48 billion, or a little under AUD 150,000, and would serve a market of around 5,000 people.

The customs chief at Ngurah Rai International Airport, Himawan Indarjano, said the ‘swallow’ method is a difficult one. It both endangers the smugglers and is challenging to detect. However, it appears smuggling is not something new to either Prakob or Radisson.

With several travel stamps on their passports showing trips to Hong Kong and other ASEAN countries, both men may have smuggled drugs with this method before. According to Police, they were also provided with accommodation courtesy of their handler. For their Bali smuggling attempt, they were paid IDR 6.9 million, or a little under AUD 700.

Indonesia is known for its stringent drug laws, so the alleged drug smugglers face a maximum fine of IDR 10 billion (AUD 1.8 million), and a maximum sentence of capital punishment.

State of Emergency Declared on Narcotics

Narcotics use and smuggling is a growing problem in Indonesia, even as the government imposes strict laws and penalties for the crime. President Jokowi said drug abuse is one of the country’s biggest challenges, and he even declared a state of emergency on the entrance of narcotics into the country.

Indonesia is a sprawling archipelago, which may contribute to its drug problem. There is thought to be thousands of drug routes around Indonesia, with drug deals worth RP 48 trillion, or AUD 4.8 billion in 2015. Indonesia also contributed to 30 percent of the region’s drug deals in the same year.

While not everyone is caught, 2009 marked the first time that a US citizen was arrested and then sentenced to death for drug trafficking. Frank Amado was arrested in Indonesia for attempting to smuggle drugs.

There are around 800 new narcotics now available, with 60 of these smuggled or used in Indonesia. However, only 43 have been identified and made illegal under Indonesian Law.

You may also like