Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Navy's quick response team in Papua, on Thursday, thwarted six drug traffickers' attempt to smuggle 13.43 kg of dried marijuana from Papua New Guinea (PNG) into the province, a navy officer stated.

The navy's success in foiling the cross-border smuggling attempt was highlighted by Operations Assistant for the Navy's Main Naval Base (Lantamal) X Command Colonel Yustus Nasarius Rossi.

The drug trafficking operation was thwarted by the naval base's quick response personnel during their routine patrol in the Indonesia-PNG sea border, he remarked in Jayapura, the capital of Papua Province, on Thursday.

During the maritime patrol, they detected a suspicious longboat heading from the Tanjung Jar waters to Hamadi in Jayapura Selatan Sub-district, Papua, in the early morning of Thursday, he revealed.

They then chased the longboat and intercepted it at about 1:38 a.m. local time for checking the people onboard and the goods they carried. They, however, did not find firearms, drugs, or any other prohibited item on it.

As a result, the Lantamal X's quick response personnel allowed the longboat skipper to continue sailing to Hamadi while continuing their visual surveillance around the waters, Rossi stated.

Not long thereafter, the navy officers spotted a suspicious plastic bag afloat in the waters and found several packs of marijuana in it, he revealed.

They attempted to chase the longboat but failed to find it, he said, adding that the seized marijuana package had been handed over to the Jayapura City Police for further investigation.

The Indonesia-PNG border remains vulnerable to cross-border criminal activities, including the trafficking of marijuana.

In the early morning of Thursday, March 21, 2024, Papua police officers, had arrested two PNG citizens for allegedly smuggling 51 packages of marijuana from their country into Papua.

They were apprehended at around 2:15 a.m. local time in the neighborhood of Hamadi Hanurata, Jaya Selatan Sub-district, Jayapura City.

Related news: Papua Police arrest two PNG citizens for allegedly smuggling marijuana

The suspects, identified as Junior Lenga and Rindox, carried 51 packages of marijuana that they had concealed in four sacks of rice.

The police investigators found that Junior Lenga was in the Jayapura city police's priority watch list, as he had escaped from the Abepura Penitentiary when jailed in connection with a drug smuggling case.

On March 22, 2021, police officers in Papua also arrested a citizen of PNG for being allegedly involved in a cross-border drug trafficking network.

The police personnel confiscated five sacks of marijuana from the detainee, named Gadafi Kuentaw Waropo, 18.

He was apprehended in Many Island of Jayapura Selatan Sub-district, Jayapura City, following the arrest of Beny Toway Waropo, 28.

To fight cross-border drug trafficking operations, the PNG Police in West Sepik Province has sought collaboration with the Indonesian police in Papua.

A total of 110 PNG citizens are being sentenced in connection with drug cases in the Doyo Penitentiary in Jayapura District.

Domestic and transnational drug dealers consider Indonesia to be a potential market due to its huge population and extensive drug use.

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

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.

Related news: 80 percent of marijuana in Papua smuggled from PNG: BNN

Translator: Ardiles L, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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