A man, only identified by his initials as BU, was arrested after customs and excise officers stopped his vehicle carrying several bags of lobster larvae on a section of the Trans-Sumatra highway in Banyuasin District, South Sumatra Province, on June 7.
"The suspect has been handed over to the maritime affairs and fisheries office," Head of the Surveillance and Service at Palembang's Customs and Excise Office Abdul Haris stated.
The customs and excise officers retrieved 55,005 lobster larvae from BU, who claimed to merely being a courier, Haris noted here, Monday.
Meanwhile, the second raid conducted by the officers on the Soekarno-Hatta Road in Palembang City on June 12 led to 66,937 lobster larvae being retrieved, he stated.
"The suspect confessed that the lobster larvae had been supplied from Lampung Province," according to Haris.
However, the suspect was unaware of where the bags of lobster larvae would finally be sent, as he claimed to only being a courier, Haris revealed.
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Akin to drug trafficking operations, efforts to smuggle lobster larvae often involve a syndicate, he noted.
The confiscated lobster larvae were released into the sea by the Palembang-based fish quarantine agency.
Indonesia's law enforcement agencies continue their crackdown on smugglers of baby lobster and lobster larvae.
The promise of huge profits has siphoned people into the illegal lobster larvae trade.
In September 2019, two people in Bali Island were caught attempting to smuggle some 60 thousand larvae of pearl and sand lobsters to Vietnam.
The suspects, arrested at a motel in Sidakarya Village, Denpasar, were identified by their initials as ERA, 26, and ATH, 35, according to chief of the Bali Marine Police Force, Sen. Coms. Hadi Purnomo.
ERA functioned as a courier, while ATH was a financier involved in a transaction of Rp95 billion through a bank's automated teller machine, he revealed.
The suspects obtained the lobster larvae from West Nusa Tenggara Province for smuggling them into Vietnam. However, the larvae package was not declared at the Customs of the Ngurah Rai International Airport from where it was intended to be dispatched to Vietnam via Singapore.
Indonesia would have borne total financial losses of around Rp9 billion in the event of the 36 thousand larvae of sand lobsters being successfully smuggled, while the smuggling of 24 thousand larvae of pearl lobsters could have led to losses to the tune of Rp7.2 billion.
In December 2020, the Jambi police also raided a residence and seized 129,466 lobster larvae worth Rp13 billion that were to be smuggled into countries, such as Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore.
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