Australian man arrested at Bali's Ngurah Rai airport on drug charges

Australian man arrested at Bali's Ngurah Rai airport on drug charges

Australian man arrested at Bali's Ngurah Rai airport on drug charges

Updated 20 December 2017, 19:10 AEDT

A 35-year-old Queensland man could face up to 20 years in jail after being caught with nearly 20 grams of crystal methamphetamine and 14 ecstasy tablets.

Indonesian authorities have arrested an Australian man on the island of Bali for drugs offences after officers found him carrying methamphetamine and ecstasy.

The man was identified as Isaac Emmanuel Roberts, 35, an accountant from Brisbane, who was born in Toowoomba on Queensland's Darling Downs.

Mr Roberts was stopped after he arrived on a flight from Bangkok on December 4, where authorities found crystal methamphetamine and ecstasy hidden in a plastic bottle and another container in his luggage.

Officers found five packages containing clear crystals weighing 19.97 grams and 14 tablets weighing a total of 6.22 grams.

The offence could carry the death penalty under Bali law, but local police drug squad officer Johnny Lay said the maximum sentence in this case would be 15 to 20 years.

The substances were found hidden in a Durex condom box, inside a plastic bottle and in a clear plastic bag, which were inside his suitcase and backpack.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said it was "providing consular assistance to an Australian man detained in Bali", but declined to comment further.

Mr Roberts ran for the Liberal Democrats in a 2009 by-election in the Melbourne seat of Higgins, after it was vacated by former federal treasurer Peter Costello.

DFAT is yet to confirm that Mr Roberts fell ill yesterday after being put before the media alongside two other prisoners.

It has reported he is being treated in a Bali police hospital.

The arrest was kept under wraps until Tuesday when officials announced the bust in a media conference in Bali.

Mr Roberts appeared wearing an orange prison suit and a black balaclava alongside two other men, an American and a Malaysian, who were arrested in separate cases.

The American man arrested at a Bali post office on November 30 in connection with a package sent from the United States containing 336.6 grams of e-cigarette liquid containing THC, the active ingredient in cannabis.

The Malaysian man was arrested on November 8 after being found with 3.03 grams of leaves thought to be marijuana and 0.65 grams of a white powder suspected to be narcotics.

Possession of small amounts of drugs can incur lengthy jail sentences in Indonesia and larger amounts can result in a death sentence.

The execution by firing squad of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in 2015, along with six other drug convicts from several other countries, strained relations between Jakarta and Canberra.

Indonesia says it is facing a drug crisis with an estimated 6.4 million drug users in the country of 250 million people and needs to impose tough punishments to contained the problem.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has called for a "merciless" crackdown on narcotics and told law enforcers to shoot drug traffickers if they resisted arrest.