Indonesian prosecutors are seeking 11 years in prison and a large fine for a Russian national caught in April trying to smuggle drugs into the country, the Jakarta Globe newspaper reported on Wednesday.
State prosecutor Ketut Sujaya alleges that Alexander Simonov tried to enter Indonesia after swallowing 88 capsules containing at least 786 grams of methamphetamine, a crime that carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
“The defendant’s crime may taint the image of Bali as a tourist destination,” Sujaya said.
Sujaya accused the 30-year-old Simonov, who arrived in Bali on a Malaysia Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur, of acting as a drug courier for international syndicates. The prosecution also wants to fine the Russian 1 billion Indonesian rupees ($104,000).
Prosecutors said Simonov, a yoga instructor, bought the drugs in India for $1,500 and planned to sell them in Bali for about $60,000.
“If the crystal meth had passed [the security check], it would have been consumed by tens of thousands of people,” Sujaya said.
Another Russian, 43-year-old St. Petersburg resident Sergei Chernykh, was detained at Bali airport almost at the same time as Simonov. Chernykh was also found to have drug-filled capsules inside his stomach.
Like many other countries in Southeast Asia, Indonesia has very strict drug laws. Those caught smuggling large amounts can be sentenced to death. There are currently over 140 people convicted on narcotics charges, including 50 foreigners, on death row in Indonesian prisons.
Arrests for drug trafficking in the world's fourth most populous country have risen steeply in the past four years, Indonesia’s National Narcotics Agency says.