Medan, N Sumatra (ANTARA) - The North Sumatra police are continuing to search for a drug courier who transported 117 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine and 20 packs of ecstasy pills in Tanjung Balai city on April 27, a spokesperson said.

The drug packages were seized by police personnel during a raid in the Pematang Pasir neighborhood of Teluk Nibung sub-district, Tanjung Balai city, on April 27, North Sumatra Police spokesperson Police Chief Commissioner Hadi Wahyudi said.

Local police conducted the raid after receiving a tip from residents about suspicious behavior from a man driving a motorized pedicab in their neighborhood, he said on Thursday evening.

The pedicab driver, who was allegedly transporting drug packages, managed to evade the police during the raid, Wahyudi said.

He added that police officials have identified the pedicab driver and are continuing to search for him. They managed to seize the drug packages he left.

On the day the Tanjung Balai city police conducted their raid in Pematang Pasir neighborhood, local police officials in Deli Serdang district arrested a man with 1.9 kg of meth.

The suspect, identified as SMA alias S (27), was apprehended at Kualanamu International Airport while trying to take the crystal meth package to Kendari city in Southeast Sulawesi province, he said.

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 said.

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 10,000 Indonesians in the age group of 15 to 64 years were drug users.

Crystal methamphetamine, narcotics, marijuana, and other addictive drugs can have users from any community and socioeconomic and cultural background.

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Translator: M.Sahbainy N, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Anton Santoso
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