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Hidden Agenda in Drug War

DENPASAR, Indonesia -- Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran have been found guilty of heroin trafficking by an Indonesian court Tuesday and will face death by firing squad, live television coverage from the court has shown.

Chan, 22, and Sukumaran, 24, are accused of being the leaders of an Australian drug smuggling ring nabbed on the tourist island of Bali.

Four other members of the group have now been sentenced to life in jail, including two -- Michael Czugaj and Martin Stephens -- on Tuesday.

Prosecutors said Chan and Sukumaran headed up a ring of seven other young Australians who were arrested as they attempted to smuggle 8 kilograms (18 pounds) of heroin from Bali island to their homeland last April.

Chan was the first to receive the death penalty Tuesday. Sukumaran's sentence was read out about an hour later.

Both men can appeal the sentence to the Jakarta Supreme Court.

A three-judge panel of the Denpasar District Court said Chan was "legally and convincingly" found guilty of being a leader of the group, dubbed the "Bali Nine," The Associated Press reported.

Chief judge Arif Supratman told the court there were no mitigating factors for Chan.

"His statements throughout the trial were convoluted and he did not own up to his actions," he said.

Chan has been dubbed the group's "godfather," with Sukumaran as the "enforcer."

Before Chan's sentence, Czugaj, 20, was found guilty of heroin smuggling and sentenced to life in jail. He had been caught at Denpasar airport with heroin taped to his body. Stephens, 29, received an identical sentence later in the day.

Two other members of the "Bali Nine," Renae Lawrence, 28, and Scott Rush, 20, were sentenced to life imprisonment on Monday.

The remaining three members of the group are to be sentenced Wednesday.

Death sentences in the trials of Chan and Sukumaran could trigger a public outcry in Australia, which opposes capital punishment, and sour relations between the neighboring countries.

The trials are the latest of several high profile drug cases involving Australians in Indonesia.

Last year, Australian Schapelle Corby, 28, was sentenced to 20 years for smuggling marijuana onto the island.

That sentence was greeted with protests by many in Australia, who apparently thought she was innocent.

Indonesian police have vowed to crack down on illegal drugs in the vacation island of Bali, which they say has become a hub for international narcotics distribution.

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