Sorong, Southwest Papua (ANTARA) - The National Narcotics Agency (BNN) has launched an integrated interdiction marine operation codenamed Purnama as part of a joint crackdown against drug smuggling.

BNN head Petrus Reinhard Golose launched the operation on Tuesday at the port of Pelindo Sorong, Southwest Papua.

The operation involves a joint team from the Water Police Corps of the Indonesian Police (Polairud Polri), the Directorate General of Customs and Excise, the Directorate General of Sea Transportation of the Ministry of Transportation, and the Directorate General of Maritime Resources and Fisheries Supervision of the Marine and Fishery Ministry (KKP).

"The marine operation will take place from May 23 to June 6 (2023), with the locus of activity in the Malacca Strait and Makassar Strait," he informed.

Areas considered to be potentially prone to narcotics trafficking routes, including Aceh, North Sumatra, Riau and the Riau Islands, Sulawesi Sea, Arafuru Sea, and the Seribu Islands, will be targeted during the integrated operation.

"This operation is nothing but an effort to narrow the movement of narcotics distribution in potential areas," he added.

In addition, Golose said, the operation would have a preventive and repressive effect on the entry of narcotics or the distribution of narcotics in Indonesian territory.

"We will try to catch smugglers or narcotics dealers during the implementation of this integrated interdiction marine operation," he said.

According to Golose, the sea lane is still a favorite route among drug syndicates for smuggling illicit drugs.

BNN and the Directorate General of Customs and Excise recently thwarted a drug smuggling attempt by an Iranian in Merak waters in Banten and seized 319 kilograms of methamphetamine as evidence, he said.

The prevalence of drug abuse in 2021 was recorded at around 1.95 percent of the population aged 15 to 64 years, or equivalent to 3.6 million people.

Indonesia's long coastline and vast seas as well as its strategic geographical location have been used by international and national drug syndicates to smuggle, import, and distribute narcotics into Indonesian territory, he said.

In addition, with its huge population of more than 281 million, Indonesia has remained a favorite market for drug dealers.

Five ships belonging to the Director General of Customs and Excise, three Ditpolairud ships, three KKP ships, and two ships from the Sea and Coast Guard Unit (KPLP) have been deployed under Operation Purnama.

The personnel involved in the operation consist of 43 personnel from the BNN, 97 from the Directorate General of Customs and Excise, 70 Polairud personnel, 36 KKP personnel, and 26 KPLP personnel.

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Translator: Yuvensius Lasa Banafanu, Sri Haryati
Editor: Anton Santoso
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