Australian Joshua James Baker held in Bali for allegedly carrying marijuana, antidepressant

By @chelean on
A Seroxat pill is seen in this illustration picture taken in Bucharest April 19, 2013.
A Seroxat pill is seen in this illustration picture taken in Bucharest April 19, 2013. Reuters/Bogdan Cristel

Another Australian has been arrested in Indonesia for drugs possession. Joshua James Baker, 32, is being held by Bali police after allegedly being caught trying to bring marijuana and antidepressant pills in the country on Sunday.

The Mt Isa native flew from Thailand to Bali on Sunday afternoon. He was stopped by customs when his baggage was scanned. Ngurah Rai Customs and Excise chief Budi Harjanto told News Corporation that Baker was found carrying 36 grams of marijuana mixed with tobacco and 37 Diazepam antidepressant pills.

“He went through the Customs like other passengers. We felt suspicious when his luggage passed through the custom’s X-ray. When we checked, we found the drugs inside his bag,” he said. The drugs tested positive to marijuana using a rapid narcotic test.

Baker allegedly said he brought the drugs only for personal use. He was in Bali for a holiday. As for the antidepressant pills, the police were still testing them to see if they were Diazepam. The Australian claimed he needed the medicine for his depression. Once the pills have been tested in the lab, the police will conduct intensive interrogation.

Baker was said to have escaped from police custody on Monday before he was rearrested 10 hours later at a Kuta hotel. He was taken to a police hospital after claiming he felt sick, and then he apparently escaped when he asked to use the toilet.

Indonesia has harsh laws against drugs. Australian Schapelle Corby was convicted of smuggling cannabis into the country in 2005. She spent nine years in Kerobokan Prison and was deported to Australia in 2017.

The Bali Nine gang was also convicted of smuggling heroin out of the country in 2005. Ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were executed in 2015. The seven others – Si Yi Chen, Michael Czugaj, Renae Lawrence, Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen, Martin Stephens, Matthew Norman and Scott Rush – are all serving life sentences.

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