However, even amid the pandemic, drug-trafficking operations have been seriously disrupted, as revealed in Indonesia's success in uncovering drug cases.
Aceh police, for instance, seized a huge cache of drugs this year in numerous raids, which show drug-trafficking remains a serious threat in the province, with the youth remaining particularly vulnerable to drug abuse.
The provincial police seized 469.5 kg of crystal methamphetamine, 1,579 kg of marijuana, and 138 thousand ecstasy pills in raids conducted between early January to mid-December, 2020, and arrested 2,144 drug offenders in connection with 1,025 cases.
Besides successfully thwarting attempts to smuggle or trade crystal meth, marijuana, and ecstasy pills in drug operations this year, Aceh police also destroyed 83.3 hectares of cultivated cannabis.
"The huge amount of crystal meth packages the police have seized reveal that many drug lords operate in Aceh," Aceh Police chief, Insp.Gen.Wahyu Widada, revealed on December 16, 2020.
Many of the seized crystal meth packages in Indonesia's westernmost province were meant to be sold in other provinces.
"This evidently shows that drug trafficking remains a serious threat to our people here, particularly members of our young generation. If the drug crimes fail to be uncovered, thousands of people may fall victim to drug addiction," Widada said.
Aceh is among the Indonesian provinces which remain vulnerable to drug crimes.
On December 3, 2020, the Idi District Court in East Aceh sentenced M. Kasem bin Abdullah, 35, to death after finding him guilty of smuggling 45 kilograms of crystal meth from Malaysia to Indonesia in April, 2020.
Meanwhile, a drug dealer, a resident of Malang, was shot dead in Surabaya, East Java, on December 23, 2020 after he attacked police officials in an attempt to evade arrest.
The drug dealer, identified as Agus Slamet, 34, allegedly attacked cops with a sharp weapon after he was caught selling drugs.
In September this year, the Central Jakarta Police seized 1.1 kg of drugs from four suspected drug couriers in three different places around the capital city.
Three of the four suspected drug couriers were operating under the guise of app-based ojek (motorcycle taxi) drivers, while the fourth, a woman, was nabbed from her apartment.
Thanks to the law enforcement agencies' ongoing war on drugs, many drug lords and drug offenders have been jailed and even sentenced to death.
But, the strict punishments have not yet deterred others from committing drug crimes. Instead, they have continued to strive to drag more people from different age groups into a vicious cycle of drug addiction.
The National Narcotics Agency (BNN) recently found liquids and candies suspected to have been laced with illegal drugs in Central Java.
Therefore, deputy head of BNN's eradication division, Inspector General Arman Depari, advised parents in the province to exercise caution when it comes to consumption of liquids and candies by children.
"We have found new illicit drugs in the form of candies and liquids in Semarang, Central Java," Depari said in a statement last November.
The new drugs being used to lace food and beverages contain THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, and were smuggled from the United States through the postal services, he informed.
THC, which is also used for making gorilla tobacco, is a hallucinogen, Depari said, adding that the new illegal drugs were being consumed in Kendal, Tegal, and Semarang.
Depari appealed to parents in Central Java to carefully monitor the food and beverages their children consume everyday.
"We must make sure that the food and drinks our children consume are free from any harmful substance," he said.
In Indonesia's capital city, the South Jakarta police have also urged parents to exercise care while buying instant food and beverage products following the discovery of cannabis-infused products.
"Please stay alert. Do not let yourselves get deceived by the pack cover of the cannabis-infused food and beverage products," South Jakarta Metropolitan Police chief, Sen.Coms. Budi Sartono, said.
He issued the warning after the recent arrest of two suspects, identified by their initials as AK and SN, over sale and production of marijuana-laced food and beverage products.
AK was apprehended in South Jakarta on December 11, 2020 for ordering and selling products made by SN, while SN was nabbed from his house in Aceh Besar district, Aceh on December 17, 2020, Sartono said.
When investigators got several samples of chocolate milk powder that SN had supplied to AK examined in a laboratory, they were found to contain marijuana, he added.
Police also found substantial traces of marijuana in milk, coffee, and "dodol" (a traditional snack made of coconut milk, glutinous rice, and palm sugar) products confiscated from SN, he continued.
The suspects were placed under police custody for further questioning since there was reason to believe SN may have supplied his products to Jakarta and its outskirts, Sartono informed.
"We are still probing this possibility," he said, adding that the cannabis-laced milk powder was being sold in sachets like the ones usually found in cafes.
The marijuana-laced coffee powder was also being sold in sachets to avoid making consumers suspicious, he revealed.
Due to Indonesia's huge number of drug users and the high value of drug trade, both domestic and international drug rings could indeed remain the nation's number one enemies in the coming years, or even, decades. (INE)
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