Banda Aceh, Aceh (ANTARA) - A joint team of police and customs and excise personnel recently thwarted an international drug ring's attempt to smuggle 169 kg of crystal methamphetamine into Aceh Besar District, a police officer stated.

During a recent drug raid operation conducted by the National Police and Aceh Police officers in the Rinting Beach waters in Aceh Besar District, nine suspects were arrested, Director of the Aceh Police Criminal Investigation Directorate Senior Commissioner Ruddi Setiawan stated.

"The suspects belong to a Middle Eastern-Aceh drug syndicate," Setiawan noted in a statement that ANTARA quoted here, Thursday.

The suspects are only identified by their initials as AR (40), JF (42), ZLF (33), MRN (24), BT (19), ZF (30), MYK (39), SF (41), and BD (48), he noted, adding that each of them had a specific task.

AR was the owner of a fishing boat used for picking up the drug package from a ship in the middle of the sea and transporting it to a chosen beach, while JF was AR's crew, Setiawan remarked.

ZLF (33), MRN (24), BT (19), and ZF (30) were assigned by their boss to take the drug package from AR, while MYK (39), SF (41), and BD (48) controlled the drug smuggling operation, he noted.

The police and customs officers managed to foil the smuggling operation owing to the local people's tip-off. Eight sacks containing 169 kg of crystal meth, a fishing boat, a pick-up truck, and 14 cellular phones were confiscated during the raid.

The police investigators followed up on their findings by coordinating with their international partners to help hunt down two foreign nationals, identified as Mr X and RS, who were involved in the drug smuggling operation.

"Mr X and RS are now on the police's most-wanted list," he added.

Indonesia remains under grave threat from drug dealers, as several individuals from its working-age population have become trapped in a vicious cycle of drug abuse.

According to a report by the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) report, at least 50 Indonesians die of drug use daily in the country. However, this statistic has failed to deter drug use in the country.

The users of crystal methamphetamine, narcotics, marijuana, and other types of addictive drugs come from different communities and socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.

In February 2021, for instance, West Java Police's Internal Affairs Division (Propam) arrested 12 police officers for allegedly consuming narcotics.

Indonesia is perceived by both domestic and transnational drug dealers as a potential market due to its vast population and millions of drug users. The value of drug trade in the country is estimated to have reached nearly Rp66 trillion.

In response to the smuggling of illicit drugs by drug kingpins over the past few decades, the Indonesian government has continued to apply harsh punitive action against them.

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Translator: MHS Agus, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Sri Haryati
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