Aussie on Bali meth charges had ‘hallucinogenic’ leaves
An Australian man who was arrested in Bali on charges of attempting to buy methamphetamines has been exposed for allegedly processing the hallucinogenic leaves of the kratom plant into pills and powder in his Seminyak villa.
Kratom leaves and their derivatives are illegal in Australia and 16 other countries - but not Indonesia, where it is and used in traditional medicine.
The drug is often marketed to vulnerable people suffering from pain and end of life patients.
It is a psychoactive substance that has side effects including hallucinations, paranoia, tremors, nausea and sweating. It grows in forests throughout South East Asia and local gangs exploit its legal status and process it into supplements that are sold as herbal remedies.
Travis Mcleod, 49 of Fremantle, was detained over the meth allegation and a subsequent police search of his villa allegedly uncovered five jerry cans of ethanol, seven bottles of assorted chemicals, a dozen baking sheets, three Tupperware containers of green powdered kratom and multiple drug processing tools and paraphernalia, including a bong.
"Kratom should be made legal everywhere and not be vilified in such a manner. Kratom is the answer to all drug problems and all ailments. It's government corruption in the USA and Australia that has made it illegal and hard or get," Mcleod said while being walked in orange prison overalls to the court.
"I know it's legal but it's not legal in Australia.
"I never said anything about selling it. Kratom is not illegal (in Indonesia). It's not illegal," he said.
Recently uploaded images to Mcleod's social media pages showed him in kratom forests in Indonesia. Mcleod has lived in Bali for two and a half years.
Denpasar police chief Mr Jansen Avitus Panjaitan alleged that Mcleod obtained kratom from the island of Borneo then processed it for his own use and for others in Indonesia.
"He already has customers. All of them are foreign nationals in Bali. The suspect admitted that he has been producing the kratom for six months," Mr Panjaitan said.
According to police, the results of forensic testing confirmed the substance 'mitragyn speciose' - or kratom.
"The material is not registered in the Indonesian drug law, so Mcleod cannot be charged," Mr Panjaitan said.
However, Mcleod was charged with Article 112 of Indonesian narcotics law regarding the 0.8 grams of methamphetamine, which two Indonesians claim he ordered them to purchase.
The maximum penalty of Article 112 is 12 years in prison and a fine of $775,000.
Originally published as Aussie on Bali meth charges had 'hallucinogenic' leaves