Indonesia: Four Britons may face firing squad over drug haul (VIDEO)


Linsay June Sandiford (C), 56, of Britain covers her face as customs personnel display evidence at a customs office in Denpasar on Bali island on May 28, 2012. Sandiford was arrested on May 19 carrying 4.7 kilogramms of cocaine in her luggage at Bali International Airport in Indonesia, official said.



Four Britons — including a 55-year-old housewife — face death by Indonesian firing squad if convicted over a $2.6 million drug haul in Bali.

Lindsay June Sandiford from Redcar in the northeast of England was arrested May 19 when X-rays revealed a suspicious package, Australia's Fairfax media reported.

According to the authorities, it was 11 pounds (5 kilograms) of cocaine valued at 23 billion rupiah ($2.6 million), covered by a layer of empty water bottles.

She had flown into Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar from Bangkok on a Thai Airways flight.

According to Fairfax, Sandiford told customs officials that she only agreed to smuggle the drugs because her children were being threatened back in England.

Britain's Sun newspaper quoted Denpasar airport customs chief Made Wijaya as saying: "We arrested the suspect after we found 4,791 grams of cocaine in her suitcase. She hid it in the lining.

“We conducted an X-ray scan on the luggage, found a suspicious substance in it and then examined it."

Another 68 grams of cocaine, 280 grams of powdered ecstasy and a small amount of hashish were also allegedly recovered following the arrest of three more British nationals, including two men and a woman, at separate locations in Bali, the Australian Associated Press reported.

Fairfax reported that Sandiford had cooperated with the authorities to net the other three, including a married couple. 

They quoted one of the accused as shouting angrily at a press conference, "It's a fit-up," suggesting that the drugs were planted.

The Jakarta Post cited Customs and Excise Agency monitoring division head, Made Wijaya, as saying they also arrested an Indian national, who is suspected of being Sandiford’s accomplice.

“Right now both of them, Sandiford and her suspected partner, have been delivered to the local police for further questioning,” he said.

Indonesia enforces stiff penalties including life imprisonment and death for drug trafficking. 

Indonesian officials paraded Sandiford at a press conference in Kuta today, leading her to a table where they cut open and weighed the packages of cocaine they accuse her of bringing into the country. Sandiford wore an orange prison T-shirt emblazoned with the word 'pelaku,' which means perpetrator.

Two members of an Australian heroin smuggling gang known as the "Bali Nine," arrested in 2005, remain on death row.

Another Australian, Schapelle Corby, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for smuggling nine pounds of marijuana in 2005, although she recently had her term slashed by five years.

More from GlobalPost: Indonesia cuts Australian drug trafficker Schapelle Corby's sentence for prisoner swap