Bogor, W Java (ANTARA) - Indonesia is currently battling two fronts: the spread of the novel coronavirus disease and the trafficking of drugs, which has continued in spite of mobility restrictions and border closures by countries fighting to curb COVID-19 transmission.

According to a recent research report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the supply chains of drug markets could be disrupted by the mobility restrictions, closed borders, and a decline in overall world trade.

Prepared by the UNODC Global Research Network, the report reveals that on account of the coronavirus pandemic, the trafficking of heroin from Mexico to the United States of America, for instance, has been more difficult this time than before.

However, the COVID-19 crisis may also "diversify drug trafficking patterns and routes", according to the UNODC research report titled 'COVID-19 and the Drug Supply Chain: From Production and Trafficking to Use'.

The report, published on the UNODC website (, also warns that the COVID-19 crisis could push more people into illicit drug-linked activities to make a living.

The severe economic impact of the coronavirus crisis has triggered layoffs in many countries, including Indonesia, and several jobless people may get involved in illicit activities, such as production and transportation of drugs for economic reasons, according to the report.

They are also vulnerable to be recruited by local and transnational drug rings (UNODC's research report, 2020).

The UNODC's research finding has been confirmed by several drug cases that the Indonesian police have uncovered during the COVID-19 crisis.

On May 12, 2020, the West Jakarta Metropolitan Police busted an international drug distribution ring based out of North Jakarta, which was planning to take advantage of the COVID-19 outbreak to trade 14.4 kg of crystal meth in the market.

Two suspected members of the drug syndicate, identified by their initials as MTO and WNR, were arrested during a police raid at MOI Apartment in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta. They were reportedly using the apartment to store drugs.

Three other suspects, identified by their initials R, RS, and EE, managed to escape, according to chief of the West Jakarta Metropolitan Police's Drug Investigation Unit, Commissioner Ronaldo Maradona.

Investigators believe the three fugitives were responsible for controlling transnational drug trafficking activities and trade of drugs in Jakarta.

The two apprehended suspects, MTO and WNR, worked as the apartment unit's security guards, while R, RS, and EE planned to trade the crystal methamphetamine ahead of the Idul Fitri holiday season, Maradona informed.

Another case related to the illicit activities of Indonesia's drug syndicates during the current health crisis has been reported in West Kalimantan, where police are probing a prison inmate’s alleged involvement in a transnational drug smuggling operation.

Local police have reported that an inmate lodged in West Kalimantan Province's Pontianak Penitentiary allegedly led an attempt to smuggle 500 grams of crystal methamphetamine into the country by involving two couriers from a transnational drug ring.

Director of the West Kalimantan Police's Drug Investigation Division, Sen. Coms. Gembong Yudha, told local journalists that the inmate's involvement in the drug case was uncovered after the two female couriers were arrested while trying to smuggle crystal meth via the Malaysia-Indonesia border crossing area of Entikong in Sanggau District on May 11, 2020.

The two couriers were identified by their initials as TS and EK. During the raid, police also seized two packages containing 500 grams of crystal meth from them.

Police arrested the couriers on the Malenggang-Balai Karangan road section of Sekayam Subdistrict, Sanggau District after receiving a tip on May 7, 2020, Yudha revealed.

The two couriers smuggled the drugs into Indonesia using shortcuts near the Entikong border crossing area, he informed journalists, adding that TS told investigators that she had received the order to smuggle the drugs from her ex-husband, who is currently lodged at the Pontianak Prison.

TS told police her ex-husband ordered her to take the drugs to an unknown person in the Balai Karangan area. Based on her confession, the police are investigating the inmate's involvement in the drug case, Yudha said.

The drug cases that the Indonesian police have uncovered amid the COVID-19 pandemic are proof that the government is now simultaneously challenged by two deadly threats: drugs and disease.

A report from the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) has revealed that around 50 drug use-related deaths occur daily in Indonesia. However, the deaths have failed to deter other drug users in the country.

Domestic and transnational drug dealers see Indonesia as a potential market due to its huge population and millions of drug users. The drug trade in the country is valued at nearly Rp66 trillion.

In the face of the grave threat posed by drug lords, BNN chief commissioner General Heru Winarko has even proposed capital punishment for those involved in drug trade.

Just as the coronavirus can infect anyone, the users of crystal methamphetamine, narcotics, marijuana, and other addictive drugs transcend communities and socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.

Public participation is essential to help Indonesia win the war against drugs.

Parents need to educate children about the dangers of drug use early on, and people must tip off police if they see any signs of drug trade or trafficking in their neighborhoods.

The Indonesian police and BNN personnel have shown a fighting spirit in helping save Indonesians from the clutches of drug rings.

The entire nation's collective mission is making Indonesia a zero-drug country in the future. We all want to see Indonesia as a healthy nation. Therefore, our country has no option other than winning its wars on COVID-19 and illicit drugs. (INE)

Related news: Police seize drugs worth Rp25 billion
Related news: Indonesia's BNN destroys 1.3 tons cannabis, 86.95 kg crystal meth


Editor: Suharto
Copyright © ANTARA 2020