Serang, Banten (ANTARA) - Police officers in Serang city, Banten, recently uncovered an inter-provincial drug ring operated out of a prison, the chief of Serang City Police, Adjunct Senior Commissioner Candra Sasongko, said.

The police investigation ended with the arrest of five suspects and the seizure of 34 grams of methamphetamine along with 393,997 Tramadol and Hexymer tablets, he told local journalists here on Friday.

Evidence of the drug operation was confiscated from five inter-provincial drug traffickers in Tegal city, Central Java, he said, adding that the suspects were identified by their initials as MS, RF, ZU, RS, and NZ.

MS, 25, is a resident of Cakung village, Binuang sub-district, Serang district, Banten province, while RF, 34, belongs to Kronjo sub-district, Tangerang district, Banten, he informed.

The remaining three suspects are from North Aceh district, Aceh province. ZU, 36, is a resident of Jember, East Java province, while RS, 30, and NZ, 30, are from Tegal city, Central Java province, he added.

The inter-provincial drug ring was detected following the arrest of MS on February 20, 2024. According to MS, he obtained one gram of methamphetamine from an inmate identified as R.

Police investigators then questioned R inside Tangerang Penitentiary. He told them that the crystal meth package sold by MS was supplied by two other inmates.

The inmates, who are still serving their prison term at Tangerang Penitentiary, have been identified as V and AH. They led the police to the four other suspects, he said.

Domestic and transnational drug dealers consider Indonesia a potential market due to its vast population and millions of drug users.

The value of the drug trade in the country is estimated to have reached nearly Rp66 trillion (around US$4.24 billion), with the number of drug trafficking cases continuing to rise.

The users of crystal methamphetamine, narcotics, marijuana, and other types of addictive drugs can belong to any community and socioeconomic and cultural background.

A joint survey conducted by the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) in 2019 pegged the number of drug users in Indonesia at over 3.4 million.

The survey conducted in 34 provinces indicated that about 180 out of every 10 thousand Indonesians in the age group of 15 to 64 years were addicted to drugs.

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Translator: Desi PS, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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