Medan, N Sumatra (ANTARA) - The North Sumatra police arrested a cross-border drug trafficker suspected to belong to a Malaysia-Indonesia syndicate and seized six kilograms of methamphetamine from him, a police spokesman stated.

The suspect, only identified as HI, was arrested by a joint team of personnel from the Asahan police and North Sumatra police's air and sea police corps on March 17, North Sumatra police spokesman Sen. Coms. Hadi Wahyudi revealed.

Speaking to journalists here, Wednesday, Wahyudi remarked that HI carried the crystal meth package from a Malaysian port on March 15. Two days later, HI was apprehended in the Asahan waters after his speedboat was intercepted by the police while attempting to return to the Malaysian waters.

"When arriving in the Indonesian waters, HI waited for someone, identified as A, who would pick him up. However, after having waited for more than three hours, A did not show up," Wahyudi remarked.

HI told police investigators that he had thought of returning to the Malaysian waters but the on-duty police officers could stop his boat and arrest him, he revealed.

The North Sumatra police continue to crack down on drug traffickers and dealers, he remarked, adding that two other members of a Malaysia-Indonesia drug ring had earlier been arrested.

The suspects were identified as M and J, who attempted to smuggle one kg of crystal meth from Malaysia. They obtained the drug package from A, a Malaysian citizen, he said.

ANTARA reported earlier that domestic and transnational drug dealers consider Indonesia to be a potential market due to its vast population and widespread drug use.

The value of drug trade in the country is estimated to have reached nearly Rp66 trillion (around US$4.2 billion), with the number of drug trafficking cases continuing to surge.

According to the National Narcotics Agency (BNN), North Sumatra is the third most vulnerable province in Indonesia when it comes to drug trafficking and related crimes.

About 80 percent of illicit drugs reaching North Sumatra are smuggled by sea, the agency noted.

Regarding the number of drug users in Indonesia, a joint survey conducted by 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.

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

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Translator: M.Sahbainy N, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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