Brazilian student arrested in Bali for smuggling cannabis from Thailand

A Brazilian man who was arrested for smuggling 9.1 grams of cannabis from Thailand into Bali last week says he “didn’t know” that the plant is illegal in Indonesia. His arrest came just days after the Royal Thai Embassy in Jakarta warned the people of Thailand against taking cannabis into Indonesia, where they could face harsh penalties – or even the death penalty – for smuggling the drug into the island nation.

In Thailand, cannabis was recently decriminalised and all parts of the marijuana plant were delisted as a Category 5 illicit narcotic. Now, cannabis is readily available to buy from shops and vendors across the nation.

It might seem obvious that cannabis must stay within Thailand’s borders to come under Thailand’s relaxed marijuana laws. However, the 25 year old Brazilian student says he misunderstood this crucial point. We’re not sure the Indonesian court will buy it.

In Indonesia, which famously has some of the strictest drug laws in the world, drug offenders can face fines of up to 1 billion Indonesian rupiah (2.3 million baht), a jail sentence that can range from 5 years to life imprisonment, or even the death penalty in serious cases.

The man attempted to carry four packages labelled “SUPERMAO” (which means “Super High” in Thai) through Indonesian border security, but the buds were flagged up when they went through the airport security’s X-ray machine.

Police arrested him and charged him with importing and possessing a Class I illegal narcotic, under Article 113:1 and Article 111:1 of Indonesia’s Narcotics Law. He is currently being detained at the I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport Detention Centre. He will likely face a 15 year prison sentence and a hefty fine.

“Based on his confession, he got the goods by buying them in Thailand. Because previously he had lived in Thailand and the goods were for his consumption. He did not know that it was forbidden to bring marijuana to Indonesia,” said Kadek Darmawan, Head of the Narcotics Investigation Unit at I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport.

Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health stated June 17 warning Thai people not to carry marijuana or marijuana related products out of Thailand’s borders. However, carrying cannabis on domestic flights in Thailand is completely legal for people over 20 years old, according to Airports of Thailand.


World News


Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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