Officers from the National Narcotics Agency seized 844.6 grams (1.9 pounds) of cocaine along with other drugs including MDMA and cannabis from the three suspects, who are identified as British, Brazilian and Mexican.
At a news conference Friday, Gde Sugianyar Dwi Putra, chief of Bali National Narcotics Agency, said the officers arrested the British man, who they suspect is the lowest-level distributor of the three, July 21 at a villa in Badung district after receiving some information about his alleged activities.
The officers then arrested the Brazilian man, who is suspected of concocting drugs, at a separate place. The Mexican man, who has been in Bali since 2012 and is allegedly in the top level of their network, was arrested later.
“We are still running the investigation. The entry of the cocaine will most likely come from Europe, because this cocaine entry route is specific," Sugianyar said. "It is produced in South America, sent to Europe, and from Europe it is spread to other countries, including through Indonesia.”
The drug network the three men are allegedly involved in is known to target foreigners in some popular tourist areas in southern Bali.
“Bali is the destination for foreign tourists. But we should remember that some of them are also part of the crime — one of them is narcotics,” Sugianyar said.
He added that the suspects would be punished according to Indonesia’s Narcotics Law, with five years' imprisonment at minimum and a death sentence at maximum as both dealers and distributors of various types of drugs.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says Indonesia is a major smuggling hub in part because international drug syndicates target its young population. Indonesia’s National Narcotics Agency estimates there are 5.6 million drug users in the country of 270 million people.
In May, Indonesian navy officers deployed to secure travel during the Eid al-Fitr holiday made Indonesia’s biggest cocaine seizure after finding plastic packages containing 179 kilograms (nearly 400 pounds) of the drug floating at sea near Merak Port on the main island of Java. No one has been arrested.
Most of the more than 150 people on Indonesia’s death row were convicted of drug crimes. About one-third of them are foreigners. Its last executions were in 2016, when one Indonesian and three foreigners were shot by a firing squad.