Made Arya Kencana
Denpasar. Bali police announced on Monday that they have arrested a total of five suspects they believe are part of an international drug smuggling syndicate.
Police said they arrested Lindsay June Sandiford on May 19. Sandiford, a 56-year-old British lawyer, arrived from Bangkok, Thailand when she was detained at Ngurah Rai Airport with some $2.5 million worth of cocaine in her suitcase.
The four additional suspects, who were arrested on Friday, were believed to be the recipients Sandiford’s shipment.
“Cocaine could be sold for Rp 23.9 billion ($2.5 million), assuming the price per gram is Rp 5 million,” Made Wijaya, the head of the Ngurah Rai customs office said in a press conference on Monday. “If they passed through security, [the drugs] could be consumed by 14,337 people.”
The four other suspects include Rachel D, Julian AP, Paul B and Nanda Gophal — they were arrested after customs officers conducted a “controlled delivery” in cooperation with Bali police and the National Anti-Narcotics Agency (BNN).
“It took eight days to reveal this case, and they are all members of very big international syndicate,” Wijaya said.
Sandiford is believed to be the only the courier; she was supposed to hand over the cocaine to Julian, the alleged boss of the syndicate.
Julian was arrested in Karangasem with 4.7 kilograms of cocaine in his car trunk. He eventually took the police to his villa, where they arrested Rachel, who police say had 45 grams of cocaine in her possession.
Police also arrested Gophal at Julian’s villa, and said they eventually found 78 plastic bags containing 279.3 gram crystal methamphetamine in Gophal’s villa in North Kuta.
Paul was arrested at a separate location in Karangasem, and police say they found 3.1 gram of hashish at his residence.
The five suspects are charged with 2009 law on Narcotics, and may face the death penalty.