Drugs abuse poses real threat to Indonesia

Drugs abuse poses real threat to Indonesia

Chief of the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) Commissioner-General Police Budi Waseso (right) shows evidence of narcotics kind of ecstasy when the destruction of evidence of narcotics degree methamphetamine and ecstasy on BNN's Office, Jakarta, Thursday (March 09, 2017). (ANTARA/Risky Andrianto)

This measure is necessary for us to receive more detailed information on the drug syndicate."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia considers drug abuse to pose a real threat to the nation, as the country has about four million drug users.

According to the National Narcotics Agency (BNN), drug abuse is responsible for the deaths of 33 Indonesians, mostly young men, every day.

Indonesia is one of the few countries to have imposed the harshest drug laws in the world. The country executed 14 drug convicts in 2015 and four last year.

President Joko Widodo, who has declared that Indonesia was in a drug emergency, vowed that he would not grant clemency to drug convicts, despite protests from several countries and parties at home.

But the capital punishment does not stop drug trafficking in Indonesia, which has become a target market of some 70 international drug syndicates from 11 countries, with China as the major supplier, followed by Malaysia and Nigeria.

In 2015, police arrested 50,178 suspects in 40,253 drug-related cases and confiscated 23.2 tons of marijuana, more than 1 million ecstasy pills, and 2.3 tons of crystal methamphetamine.

Last year, BNN dealt with 807 illicit drug cases across Indonesia, with a total of 1,238 people arrested, including 21 foreigners. The agency also confiscated 6.2 tons of dried hashish, 1.16 tons of methamphetamine, and 765 thousand ecstasy pills.

To prevent drug smuggling, Indonesias Customs and Excise Directorate General Heru Pambudi last Feb held a meeting with his Chinese counterpart in China to discuss the cooperation to tighten control over the illicit smuggling of drugs and other violations of customs.

"The cooperation between the two countries customs authorities has so far been sound but not at the national level. In future, we will hold intensive discussions following an increase in bilateral cooperation in the areas of trade, investment, and tourism that boost the sales of goods, services, and human trafficking as well," Pambudi told ANTARA News.

He expressed optimism that a cooperation agreement between the two institutions would be inked in the first semester of 2017.

"We know that China is presently the second-largest economy in the world, including in e-commerce. However, we are also aware of several instances of drug smuggling from China to Indonesia," he stated.

In 2015, China had produced 79 tons of illicit drugs, or an increase of 77.3 percent. Guangzhou, Chongging, and Zhejiang are among the main drug producers.

As cooperation against drug smuggling attempts with Malaysia, Mohiuddin Ghazali, the Malaysian Consul in Pontianak revealed that his government would intensify border security to prevent rampant drug smuggling on the Indonesia-Malaysia border.

"We will tighten checks at the border patrol posts between Indonesia and Malaysia, as I believe this is our common strategy in the fight against illicit drugs," the Malaysian diplomat stated recently.

He admitted that security arrangements on the Malaysian border for exit were weaker than those for entry.

"What happens here is that the checking process is weak when goods are exiting Tebedu, and they are not even inspected. Checking is only conducted on goods that enter (the Malaysian border)," he pointed out.

Tebedu is a border town in the Serian division of southwestern Sarawak, Malaysia, on the Indonesia-Malaysia border.

He, however, said that his government is strongly committed to eradicating drugs.

Hence, the Royal Malaysian Police, tasked with combating drug trafficking, had visited Indonesia to interrogate Malaysian nationals who have committed drug smuggling crimes.

"This measure is necessary for us to receive more detailed information on the drug syndicate," he noted.

He said the two neighboring countries need to strengthen coordination to prevent drug trafficking.

"So far, we have planned several ways to anticipate the smuggling of illegal goods in border areas by involving Malaysian and West Kalimantan police officers as well as the government administration and military officers in the prone areas," he added.

On March 20, 2017, BNN officer shot dead a drug smuggler identified by his initial as AP in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, which shares border with Malaysia.

"During an arrest attempt, one of the suspects tried to flee, so he was shot by an officer in the Sungai Raya area, Kubu Raya, Pontianak," Inspector General Arman Depari, deputy chairman of the BNN, stated in Jakarta on March 21.

The agency arrested four suspects, including one, who was killed, for smuggling several kilograms of methamphetamine from Malaysia.

"The methamphetamine was believed to weigh several kilograms from Malaysia and was smuggled through the Entikong (border). At present, the case is being investigated," he stated.

On March 1, the BNN had shot dead a drug trafficker known by his initials as RIZ in Medan, North Sumatra Province.

The agency also seized 48.16 kilograms of methamphetamine from China and later smuggled from Penang, Malaysia, into Aceh, and later Medan.

During the operation, the agency also seized 3,702 ecstasy pills and 454 happy five pills, as well as arrested 33-year-old Mul on the Medan-Binjai Street, North Sumatra.

"The officers chased other suspects identified as 45-year-old SY, as the coordinator of the traffickers, and 32-year-old AM, who received the drugs," BNN Chief Budi Waseso said.
(T.F001/INE/KR-BSR)

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