Indonesian authorities uncover major drug racket run from prison cells

Some 75 percent of drug distribution was run by several inmates from prison cells, information from Indonesias National Narcotic Agency (BNN) has revealed.

The most notorious inmate running his business from the countrys jail cell is death row convict Freddy Budiman, who is known as the drug kingpin.

Freddy was sentenced to death in 2013 for importing ecstasy from Shenzhen, China, after police officers raided a truck containing 1.4 million such pills in Jakarta.

From the Nusakambangan prison, he had operated the drug trafficking business in three countries, the Netherlands, Pakistan and Indonesia, according to Merdeka.com.

In addition to the Freddy case, some 800 kilograms (kg) of crystal methamphetamine had been smuggled from Malaysia into Indonesia since 2012 by an international drug syndicate involving two Indonesian prisoners, according to the police.

The prisoners are Ricky Gunawan alias Ricky Bom-bom of the Cipinang Penitentiary in East Jakarta, and Anciong alias Karun of the Tanjung Gusta Penitentiary in Medan, North Sumatra Police.

“The network had smuggled methamphetamine and ecstasy from Malaysia into Indonesia from 2012 to 2016 through the Malaysia-Panjang Straits-Cirebon maritime route,” Adjunct Senior Commissioner Dony Setiawan, chairman of the Narcotics Investigation Center team of the Crime Investigation Directorate of the Indonesian Police, said in Cirebon, West Java, April 6.

Ricky Gunawan ran the operations to distribute the smuggled drugs to clients.

“He had instructed Rizki and Fajar to deliver the drugs to the clients,” Setiawan revealed.

Anciong had ordered the drugs from Malaysia and at the same time had supervised the delivery of the shipment.

The police have conducted serious investigations into this case since the last two months.

“During the last two months, we did not immediately arrest the suspects, but we allowed the drugs to be unloaded and stored at a warehouse in Cirebon,” the police official remarked.

On March 16, the police detained M. Rizki and Fajar Priyo Susilo for carrying 15 kg of meth and 20 thousand ecstasy pills from Cirebon to Jakarta.

During a raid conducted at the Cirebon warehouse, the police also found 25 kg of meth and 160 thousand ecstasy pills.

On March 17, the police also arrested Jusman and Khoirul for facilitating the smuggling from Malaysia to Cirebon aboard MV Bahari I, which is owned by Jusmans older brother.

In total, the police have arrested 10 suspects for their alleged involvement in the drug smuggling and trafficking case.

Other suspects included Sugianto alias Achai of West Dumai who was in charge of transporting the drugs from Malaysia to Panjang Straits; Hendri Unan and Gunawan Aminah who paid for the transportation and operational costs; and Yanto alias Abeng, also a prisoner at the Tanjung Gusta Penitentiary in Medan, who had helped Anciong to establish contact in Malaysia to order the drugs.

Most of Indonesias prisons are very crowded and dominated by drug offenders.

Reports of rampant trafficking from prison houses was a slap on the face of ministry officials, especially prison guards, Head of the Planning Bureau of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights Pugu Sri Budiutami said.

“The officials of the ministry should be ashamed of the fact that drugs have been traded in prison,” Pugu said.

Earlier, Coordinating Minister for Political Affairs, Law and Security Luhut Binsar Panjaitan called for separate prisons for drug convicts to make it easier to control drug trafficking in prisons.

He asked prison chiefs to be stricter in implementing regulations and procedures to prevent drug traffic in prisons.

Communications between drug convicts with people outside prison should be restricted and they should not be allowed to have telecommunications devices, he added.

In the meantime, the Indonesian police destroyed 144 kg of crystal methamphetamine, 44 kg of liquid methamphetamine, 197,874 ecstasy pills, and 579 tons of dried hashish seized during raids carried out by the police, the National Narcotics Agency (BNN), and the Customs Excise office.

The drugs had been smuggled into Indonesia from Malaysia, China, Singapore, the Netherlands, Iran, Taiwan and Cambodia, by international drug syndicates, National Police Chief General Badrodin Haiti said in Cirebon, on April 6.

An amount of 144 kg of crystal meth came from China and Iran, 44 kg of liquid meth had come from Iran, and 197,874 ecstasy pills were from the Netherlands.

They were smuggled into Indonesia through the Soekarno-Hatta international airport and the Cirebon seaport.

During Operation Bright carried out jointly by the Police and BNN, 46 people were arrested for suspected involvement in the drugs trafficking cases.

Thanks to the success of the anti-drug operation, the lives of some 1.9 million people were saved, Haiti said.

Soekarno Hatta Airport in Banten province is the main gateway to smuggle drugs to Indonesia, according to Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro.

“Most of them were smuggled through Soekarno Hatta Airport,” he said recently.

Since early this year, six attempts of smuggling drugs through the airport have been foiled, he said.

The other areas which are prone to drug smuggling are Batam, Tanjung Balai Karimun and Tanjung Pinang (Riau Islands), and Bandung (West Java).

The drugs had been smuggled into Indonesia mostly from Malaysia, he said.

“The rest came from Taiwan, Singapore, Iran and Nigeria,” he added.

Last March, West Jakartas police arrested a 37-year-old Chinese national for allegedly possessing 16 kg of crystal methamphetamine.

Source: Antara News