Medan, N Sumatra (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Navy has thwarted an attempt by two suspected members of an international drug syndicate to smuggle 29 kg of drugs into the country from Malaysia through the Asahan waters in North Sumatra.

The suspects' boat was intercepted in the Asahan waters by a patrol vessel from the Tanjung Balai Naval Base on June 21, Commander of the Indonesian Navy's First Fleet Command, Rear Admiral Arsyad Abdullah, said in a press statement received by ANTARA here on Friday.

The men, identified by their initials as S and RS, have been arrested. Both are residents of Tanjung Balai city, Abdullah informed.

On the suspects’ boat, naval personnel found 29 kg of crystal methamphetamine packed inside 29 bags and 12 bags containing around 60 thousand ecstasy pills inside a fish tank, he said.

The suspects told naval investigators that they had been asked to transport the drugs by another person, identified as F, who had promised to pick up the delivery in the middle of the sea, he added.

The Navy has handed over the suspects to the National Narcotics Agency (BNN)-North Sumatra Office for further investigation, he said.

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

With people from all strata of society falling prey to drugs regardless of socioeconomic and professional backgrounds, over the past few decades, the Indonesian government has taken harsh punitive action against drug barons found smuggling and trading drugs in the country.

The BNN has sought capital punishment for those involved in drug trade in the country.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has also issued shoot-at-sight orders against drug kingpins.

However, this has failed to deter drug traffickers, who continue to treat Indonesia as a main market, prompting Indonesian law enforcers to step up vigilance against them.

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Translator: Nur ABS, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Sri Haryati
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