Indonesian police raid drug lab in Bali villa

DENPASAR, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian police raided what they said was a major drug lab hidden in a villa on the resort island of Bali and arrested four people, authorities said Monday.

Police raided the house in the upscale resort area of Canggu early this month and found two drug labs in the basement, said Wahyu Widada, head of the National Police’s Criminal Investigation Department,

He said one of the villa’s labs was designed to produce the ingredients for ecstasy, and the other contained a hydroponic farm for marijuana. Police were tipped off to the facility after an earlier raid on a Jakarta lab linked to Indonesia’s most wanted drug lord.

During the raids, police arrested an Indonesian man identified by the initials LM, two Ukrainian men identified as IV and MV, and a Russian man identified as KK.

The four men could face execution. Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, has strict laws against consumption and sale of marijuana and many other drugs.

Most of the more than 150 people on Indonesia’s death row were convicted of drug crimes, about one-third of whom are foreigners. The country’s last executions were in 2016, when one Indonesian and three foreigners were shot by a firing squad.

Widada said police were tipped off to the “clandestine” labs after interrogating a suspected drug trafficker arrested in an April raid in the capital, Jakarta, on a similar lab that police say was owned by drug lord Freddy Pratama.

Widada said one of the men arrested this month, LM, was Pratama’s accountant, and was involved in operating a drug lab in Jakarta before moving to Bali to avoid arrest. He was arrested at a rented house near Kuta, a popular tourist spot, with 6 kilograms (13.2 pounds) of crystal methamphetamine.

Widada said that IV and MV were accused of being investors and drugmakers at the Bali labs, while KK was accused of selling drugs for them, adding that police are searching for two more dealers, Ukrainian men identified as RN and OK.

Wearing orange detainee uniforms, the suspects were paraded with their hands tied at a news conference in Denpasar, the capital of Bali province.

Police seized hundreds of kilograms (pounds) of precursor chemicals for ecstasy and equipment for growing marijuana, including ultraviolet lighting and an automatic watering system.

Last year, Indonesia’s Constitutional Court rejected a judicial review of the country’s narcotics law that would have paved the way for legalizing marijuana for medicinal use.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says Indonesia is a major smuggling hub despite having some of the strictest drug laws in the world, in part because international drug syndicates target its young population.


Niniek Karmini contributed to this report from Jakarta, Indonesia.

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