Serang, Banten (ANTARA) - Indonesia's national police thwarted a local drug syndicate's attempt to smuggle 71 kilograms of drugs from Pekanbaru, Riau Province to Jakarta on two trucks carrying staple food supplies on May 8, 2020, a senior official said.

“(I would like to express) Thanks to our colleagues from the Bakauheni Ferry Port Police for successfully finding 66 kg of the 71 kg of crystal methamphetamine inside a safe box on a PT AMP expedition truck," Indonesia's Deputy Police Chief, Commissioner General Gatot Eddy Pramono, said.

The remaining five kg of crystal meth was seized from another expedition truck, owned by PT Dakota, he told journalists on Wednesday at Merak Port, Banten Province.

The drug traffickers had tried to take advantage of the government’s decision to allow operation of expedition trucks amid the enforcement of large-scale social distancing measures and travel restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease, Pramono noted.

In separate raids, police recovered drugs from a PT AMP expedition truck at the checkpoint of South Lampung's Bakauheni ferry port and a PT Dakota truck in Jakarta, and nabbed two suspected traffickers.

The suspects have been identified by their initials as RR (25) and EA (22). RR, president director of PT Alidon Express Makmur-Jakarta, allegedly received the package containing 66 kg of crystal meth, while EA is suspected of packing 5 kg of crystal meth on PT Dakota's truck.

Police investigators have launched a hunt for BP, commissioner of PT Alidon, for allegedly receiving 10 kg of crystal meth from the PT Alidon-Pekanbaru office. The drug package itself was reportedly transported by PT AMP to the PT Alidon-Lampung office.

Police have filed charges against the suspects under Indonesia's narcotics law. If convicted, they face life imprisonment, Pramono 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.

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.

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.

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. (INE)

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Translator: Mulyana, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Suharto
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