INDONESIAN authorities claim an Australian man arrested this week allegedly carrying 1.1kg of hashish inside his body was couriering for an international drug network.
INDONESIAN authorities claim an Australian man arrested this week allegedly carrying 1.1kg of hashish inside his body was couriering for an international drug network. Because the amount exceeds 1kg, Edward Norman Myatt, 54, could face the death penalty if convicted of importing the drug, said I Made Wijaya, chief of Customs at Bali's Ngurah Rai international airport. "We believe he is a courier," Mr Wijaya yesterday told a press conference at which the Ballarat-born suspect was exhibited along with the drugs. "He is covering up information on the network in Indonesia." Speaking later in Denpasar, Gories Mere, chief of the national counter-narcotics agency BNN, said international drug syndicates were supplying illegal drugs into Bali. The trade had been in methamphetamines, Mr Gories said, but now the type of drugs being trafficked was changing. Mr Myatt was taken into custody at the airport on Monday afternoon after arriving from New Delhi via Bangkok. Mr Myatt was under surveillance by 40 officers when the Thai Airways flight landed because his movements had already attracted attention, Mr Wijaya said. Customs officers searched his baggage and clothing at the airport without finding any evidence of drugs, but remained suspicious. Mr Myatt was taken from the airport for a CT scan at a Kuta medical centre, but momentarily escaped the car when stopped in traffic and dived into a swamp near the roadway, Mr Wijaya said. The suspect was quickly caught and the scan later showed "suspicious objects" in his stomach. Mr Wijaya said 71 capsules containing hashish and one with crystal methamphetamines were recovered from Myatt's body over the following four days. The total weight, including packaging, was 1.11kg. The estimated street value of the hashish was Rp661.8 million (about $67,750). Under Section 113 of the Narcotics Law, Mr Wijaya said, "the suspect faces maximum penalty of death" or a prison term between five and 20 years. Mr Myatt, who was carrying Australian and British passports, had an April 4 return ticket to New Delhi. He had visited Bali five times previously. A Customs source said later that Mr Myatt was thought to have been working in Britain recently, but he had changed details of his story several times during questioning. Eleven of the 12 Australians now imprisoned at Bali's Kerobokan jail are serving lengthy terms for drug trafficking. They include Gold Coast woman Schapelle Corby and the Bali Nine heroin smuggling convicts. Two of the Bali Nine, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, have been sentenced to death and their last resort is an appeal for presidential clemency to Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Sydney man Michael Sacatides was arrested at Ngurah Rai on October 1, 2010, with 1.7kg of methamphetamines concealed in his luggage. Sacatides was last year sentenced to 18 years' jail.