News focus - Drug dealers remain Indonesia`s foe by Rahmad Nasution

News focus - Drug dealers remain Indonesia`s foe    by Rahmad Nasution

The National Narcotics Agency (BNN) (

Yogyakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia remains under serious threat from drug dealers, as several individuals from its working-age population get trapped in a vicious circle.

The National Narcotics Agency`s (BNN`s) report that some 50 Indonesians die of drugs everyday has yet to deter drug users in the country to stop consuming the addictive substances.

The users of crystal methamphetamine, narcotics, marijuana, and other types of addictive drugs can be any of the community members from distinct socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.

Hence, it comes as no surprise if drug users are, sometimes, politicians, students, and entertainers. Last April, for instance, a former legislator, Arbab Pabroeka, was arrested for a drug offence.

In August, Ibrahim Hasan alias Ibrahim Hongkong, a member of Langkat District`s legislative body in North Sumatra Province, was also arrested for his alleged involvement in trans-national drug trafficking activities.

Due to this case, Ibrahim was sacked from the membership of the National Democrat Party (Nasdem), which had paved the way for his political career until he was elected as a member of Langkat District`s legislative body.

The country`s world of entertainment also remains vulnerable to drug cases as was partly observed from the arrests of Fariz Rustam Munaf, a top singer and musician, and Rhido Rhoma, a popular Dangdut singer and son of self-styled king of Dangdut Rhoma Irama.

The latest drug case that attracted the attention of the local media was the one related to Ozzy Albar, son of senior rocker Ahmad Albar, who was apprehended on Wednesday.

Indonesia undoubtedly is perceived by both local and trans-national drug dealers as one of their potential markets in Southeast Asia due to the existence of its millions of drug users and huge population.

According to Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, the former coordinating minister for political, legal, and security affairs, the value of drug trades in Indonesia is estimated to have reached at least Rp66 trillion, of which 75 percent may be directed from inside the prison.

In response to the real threats of illicit drugs that the drug kingpins smuggled into and traded in the country over the past few decades, the Indonesian government continues to apply harsh punitive actions against them.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo had also ordered the police and BNN officers to conduct a shoot-at-sight operation on drug kingpins.

However, drug traffickers are not deterred by this harsh punishment. Instead, the drug kingpins continue to maintain Indonesia as one of their main markets. The Indonesian law enforcers also continue to work hard to fight them.

On August 30, 2018, the West Kalimantan police and BNN personnel thwarted an attempt to smuggle 916.47 grams of crystal methamphetamine and large number of rupiah, ringgit, and Singapore dollar banknotes.

Four of the five suspects had been arrested, while the other one, identified as a Nigerian national, escaped, Chief of West Kalimantan Province`s Police Inspector General Didi Haryono stated.

The four suspects were all Indonesian nationals. During the joint operation, the law enforcers also confiscated a total of 916.47 grams of crystal meth, more than Rp165 million, Sing$3,000, and 7,000 Malaysian ringgit.

One of the arrested suspects, Rian Pandu Saputra, was a drug convict who has been serving life sentence at the Pontianak Penitentiary of Class II A for smuggling 17 kilograms of crystal meth, he stated.

The three other suspects were only identified as RBS, Za, and Hen, Za`s wife. Each of them played a different role. RBS was a courier for the 916.47 grams of smuggled crystal meth, while Za was a drug dealer, and his wife, Hen, functioned as a treasurer.

Haryono pointed out that the suspects will be charged under chapters of the criminal code that could either be death sentence or life imprisonment.

The death penalty has yet to deter drug traffickers from ending their criminal acts against humanity, but it needs to be maintained in Indonesia`s legal system. At least, the capital punishment is justified to ensure justice for the victims.