Bogor, W Java (ANTARA) - Local and transborder drug traffickers continue to pose a grave threat to Indonesia despite the National Police and National Narcotics Agency's (BNN's) ongoing fierce crackdowns.

The culprits involved in the crime networks vary in socio-economic and professional backgrounds as the results of police and BNN investigations reveal that the drug offenders can be anyone.

In Indonesia's resort island of Bali, for instance, two university students were recently apprehended owing to their alleged involvement in a drug ring.

According to the BNN-Bali Office, its investigations into one of the five drug cases it handled in October-December 2022 led it to uncover the university students' involvement in the drug syndicate.

The suspects, identified as MS, 23, and LJ, 24, were arrested in Dauh Puri Kelod Village, Denpasar Barat Sub-district, Head of BNN's Bali Office, Brig. General Raden Nurhadi Yuwono noted in his recent statement.

MS and LJ conducted drug trafficking with six other people. Yuwono, however, did not specify whether the six other suspects, aged between 21 and 25, were also university students.

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From these eight suspects, the local cops seized more than 10 kilograms of cannabis sent through a package delivery service from North Sumatra Province.

The fact that several university students are getting involved in drug offences had also been found in West Sumatra.

The province's police disclosed that some 19 of 239 people arrested in connection with drug trafficking operations and drug misuse between October and November this year were identified as university students.

In addition to students, law enforcement agencies sometimes found bad soldiers and cops as well as politicians had got involved in drug offences.

In October this year, two army personnel in North Sumatra were arrested for their alleged involvement in the smuggling of 75 kg of crystal meth and 40 thousand ecstasy pills from Malaysia to Tanjungbalai Asahan Port.

The army personnel were only identified by their initials as First Sergeant YT, 42, and First Private RH, 25, National Police Narcotics Director Brig. Gen. Krisno H. Siregar noted.

The suspects were arrested along with 75 kg of crystal methamphetamine and some 40 thousand ecstasy pills during a drug raid that the police had conducted in the end of October.

Two civilians, identified as YSD and S, were arrested in Medan City before receiving the drug packages from YT and RH.

The drug mules could be arrested owing to a tip-off leading to the drug smuggling operation that the National Police's Narcotics Division had received.

YT and RH were handed over to North Sumatra's military police investigators, while YSD and S are under police custody, Siregar added.

However, in October 2022, former West Sumatra Police Chief Inspector General Teddy Minahasa came under intense media spotlight owing to his alleged involvement in a drug trafficking case.

Jakarta Police's investigators had named Minahasa as a suspect in a drug trafficking case and placed him under detention since October 24.

According to the Jakarta metropolitan police, Minahasa was allegedly involved in the illegal trade of around five kilograms of crystal methamphetamine.

At least 1.7 kg of the drug package had been traded in Kampung Bahari, while around 3.3 kg was confiscated by police, director of the Jakarta Police's Narcotics Division, Sen. Coms. Mukti Juharsa, revealed recently.

In response to the alleged drug offense, National Police Chief General Listyo Sigit Prabowo ordered the police's Internal Affairs Division (Propam) to question Minahasa to identify potential ethics breaches in relation to the drug trafficking case against him.

"I have asked the Propam chief to conduct an ethics hearing, which may end with a dishonorable discharge," he stated on October 14.

Before being assigned to replace Insp. Gen. Nico Afinta as the East Java police chief, based on the police chief's letter No.ST/2134/X/KEP/2022 dated October 10, Minahasa headed the West Sumatra police.

Due to the drug case, General Listyo Sigit Prabowo said he had revoked his decision and appointed someone else to lead East Java's police.

Minahasa has been charged under Law No. 35 of 2009 on Narcotics. If convicted, he may be sentenced to at least 20 years in prison or face death penalty.

Meanwhile, Arbab Pabroeka and Ibrahim Hasan, alias Ibrahim Hongkong, were among the politicians arrested in connection with drug offences.

Pabroeka, a former legislator, was arrested in April 2018 while Hasan, a member of Langkat District's legislative body in North Sumatra, was arrested in August 2018 for involvement in trans-national drug trafficking activities.

Due to this case, Ibrahim was sacked from the membership of the National Democrat Party (Nasdem), which had paved the way for his political career until he was elected as member of Langkat District's legislative body.

On account of the above reality, drug trafficking activities have apparently become an ongoing threat to Indonesia's security and human resources.

In winning the war against drug dealers, harsh punishments, including the imposition of death penalties to drug dealers, are deemed necessary.

However, the law enforcement approach also needs to be combined with preventive measures, such as regular blood and urine drug tests for students, employees, and other segments of society, as well as public awareness campaigns on the dangers of addictive drugs.

To this end, the National Anti-Narcotics Movement (Granat) has proposed that all figures competing in Indonesia's 2024 presidential and parliamentary elections be tested and declared drug-free.

Granat Chairman Henry Yosodiningrat opined that urine tests should be made part of requirements for nominating candidates for the presidential and parliamentary elections.

The required urine tests are aimed at supporting Indonesia's efforts to make it a drug-free country, he said, adding that drug addicts must be prevented from joining the upcoming general elections.

Hence, urine tests must be made a requirement in the early stages of selecting candidates. Granat has proposed its view to the House of Representatives (DPR) and government, Yosodiningrat added.

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Editor: Sri Haryati
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