Jakarta (ANTARA) - The West Jakarta Metropolitan Police's anti-drug squad thwarted an attempt by six drug dealers to trade crystal methamphetamine by taking advantage of the authorities diverting police resources to tackle the COVID-19 crisis.

The drug ring was uncovered after two drug couriers were arrested while trying to deliver one kg of crystal meth to a buyer in Kebon Jeruk's area, chief of the West Jakarta Metropolitan Police's Narcotics Division, Commissioner Ronaldo Maradona Siregar, said here on Monday.

The suspected drug traffickers, identified by their initials as SA (30), AW ( 30 ), NR alias R (34), MAS alias K (34), AS alias T (34), and AW alias B (35), were trying to trade 11 kg of crystal methamphetamine, he continued.

They allegedly tried to take advantage of the current crisis, where several policemen are focusing on dispersing crowds and public gatherings for containing the spread of COVID-19, Siregar said.

"They tried to use this situation (COVID-19 outbreak) for trafficking and trading illicit drugs," Siregar said.

The six men were nabbed in different places over a period of two weeks.

The ongoing public concerns over COVID-19 have gained the Indonesian Government's serious attention.

As of 9.50 a.m. Western Indonesia Time (WIB) on March 30, the number of COVID-19 patients worldwide stood at 721,817, while the number of deaths were registered at 33,968, according to the Johns Hopkins University's Corona Resource Center.

The United States has recorded the highest number of infections at 142,326, while Italy has witnessed the most deaths (10,779) in the world.

So far,1,285 patients have tested positive for COVID-19 in Indonesia, while 114 persons have died of the disease. Jakarta has continued to record the highest number of confirmed cases and fatalities.

Even while facing the global pandemic, Indonesia's war on drugs has continued, considering the fact that the country remains under grave threat from drug dealers, as several individuals from its working-age population have become embroiled in the vicious cycle of drugs, said officials.

A report by the the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) stating that some 50 Indonesians die of drug use daily has not deterred drug users in the country from consuming the banned substances.

Users of crystal methamphetamine, narcotics, marijuana, and other types of addictive drugs hail from all communities and transcend socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, according to officials.

Indonesia is viewed by both domestic and transnational drug dealers as a potential market owing to its huge population and millions of drug users. The value of drug trade in the country is estimated to be around Rp66 trillion. (INE)

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Translator: Devi NSR, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Suharto
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