Banda Aceh, Aceh (ANTARA) - A man suspected of being a drug courier was arrested while trying to smuggle 10 kilograms of methamphetamine from Banda Aceh to Jakarta via the Trans Sumatra Highway on May 17, a police officer said on Tuesday.

The 53-year-old suspect, who was only identified by his initials, BH, was arrested in Bireuen, Aceh, said Langsa Police Chief, Police Adjunct Senior Commissioner Andy Rahmansyah.

BH, a resident of Kota Juang, Bireuen district, was arrested by local police officials after locals tipped them off about his drug trafficking operation, Rahmansyah added.

"BH is a 2011 drug case recidivist. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison for trafficking seven kg of meth," he said, adding that police officers learned that he was bringing the drug package from Banda Aceh.

When BH's minivan entered Bireuen district, which is about 220 kilometers away from Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh province, at 8:30 p.m. local time on May 17, the local police stopped it for a security check.

A search of the vehicle revealed 10 bags containing approximately 10 kilograms of crystal meth, which BH was transporting to Jakarta, he said.

According to police investigators, to deliver the drug package, BH worked with another suspect, identified as YS. However, the police failed to find YS in Bireuen district, he said.

"YS has been put on our most wanted list," he added.

As reported earlier, Aceh has been in a state of emergency over drug trafficking, with transnational and inter-provincial drug rings still active in the province despite the ongoing crackdown against them.

Both the police and the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) have continued to clamp down on drug kingpins and their drug supply networks in Aceh over the past few years.

Looking at the physical evidence of drug crimes that local police and BNN officers have frequently seized, cannabis and crystal methamphetamine seem to be the most commonly trafficked drugs.

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.

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 10,000 Indonesians in the age group of 15 to 64 years were using drugs.

Users of crystal methamphetamine, narcotics, marijuana, and other addictive drugs can come from any community and socioeconomic and cultural background.

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Translator: M.Haris SA, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Anton Santoso
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