Medan, N Sumatra (ANTARA) - Police officers in North Sumatra are committed to continuing the war on drugs as drug traffickers are still posing a threat in the province despite the ongoing crackdown against them, police top brass said.

The chief of North Sumatra Police, Insp.Gen.Agung Setya Imam Effendi, highlighted the importance of working closely with the Indonesian Military (TNI) in fighting drug offenders in the province.

The police's synergistic collaboration with the TNI is an integral part of endeavors to maintain law and order in society as well as peace and security in North Sumatra, he said during a coordinating meeting with the Indonesian Military Police (POM TNI) here on Wednesday.

Regarding the war on drugs in North Sumatra, Effendi informed that his men launched a covert contra-drug operation, which led to the arrests of 502 suspects between May 1 and May 14, 2024.

The arrests also resulted in the seizure of 154.45 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, 78.87 kg of dried marijuana, and more than one hundred thousand ecstasy pills, he added.

During the raids, police officers also destroyed 1,500 cannabis trees planted on around 1.5 hectares of land in Mandailing Natal district, he said.

The contra-drug operation was conducted covertly to help police uncover the suspects' networks, he added.

Related news: Courier caught with 10kg of meth in Aceh

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

The value of the 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 that reach North Sumatra are smuggled via 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.

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

Related news: North Sumatra police hunt drug courier after 117kg meth seizure

Translator: M.Sahbainy N, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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