Aceh in the grip of growing drug problem

Aceh has been in a state of emergency over drug trafficking with trans-national and inter-provincial drug rings still active in the province despite the ongoing crackdown against them.

Both 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 local police and BNN officers have frequently seized, cannabis and crystal methamphetamine seem to be most commonly trafficked drugs.

Quite recently, for instance, Aceh police apprehended nine members of an inter-provincial drug ring with 194 kilograms (kg) of cannabis.

The suspects were picked up from several places in Aceh province and Medan City, North Sumatra province, according to Aceh Police chief, Insp. Gen. Wahyu Widada.

They had a previous criminal record for transporting 800 kg of marijuana to Palembang, South Sumatra province, he added.

In the inter-provincial drug trafficking operations, the suspects, identified by their initials as SA, HM, FT, AK, NA, IH, MJ, MA, and IL, played different roles.

SA functioned as a courier. He was arrested in the Padang Tiji neighborhood area of Pidie district in Aceh, while NA, a woman, helped those sending the drug packages.

NA was apprehended in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra province. Her colleague, IH, was arrested in Lhokseumawe City, Aceh province, for transporting cannabis packages.

In the network, IL was identified as a marijuana owner, Widada informed, adding that the suspects sent drug packages to Palembang and Jakarta through courier companies.

During another drug raid, Aceh police worked closely with the customs and excise agencies to foil a trans-national drug ring’s attempt to smuggle 50 kg of crystal meth into the province.

A member of the cross-border drug syndicate used a 30-GT boat to smuggle the drug package into East Aceh district, Widada revealed.

“The smuggling operation was conducted through the East Aceh waters. The boat carried two sacks containing 50 packs of crystal meth with a total weight of 50 kg,” he added.

The raid, carried out recently, also resulted in the apprehension of four suspects, identified by their initials as ZK, KR, ZR, and ZK, he added.

ANTARA has reported on frequent attempts by drug rings to smuggle crystal methamphetamine into Aceh from Malaysia for trade inside and outside the province.

Last year, Aceh police launched two drug operations in East Aceh, which led to the seizure of 141 kg of crystal meth and the arrest of 15 suspects.

Besides smuggling crystal meth packages into the province, drug criminals in Aceh are also cultivating cannabis in certain areas.

On April 6, 2021, a joint team of personnel from the BNN, police, military, and local government destroyed nine hectares of cannabis plantations in North Aceh district.

More than 70 thousand cannabis plants reaching 30 to 250 centimeters in height were burned to the ground in Jurong and Sawang villages, North Aceh district, as part of the operation.

The total weight of the destroyed cannabis plants was recorded at 35 tonnes. The joint team members also burned and uprooted about 10 thousand cannabis seeds.

The BNN is continuing its efforts to make Indonesia drug-free by cracking down on drug rings across the country, including Aceh province.

To track marijuana plantation areas, the BNN is working with Indonesia’s National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (Lapan) and the Geospatial Information Agency (BIG).

The BNN-Aceh Office has also suggested that the Grand Design Alternative Development (GDAD) Program be implemented in the cannabis plantation areas destroyed in Aceh.

“The areas, for instance, can be planted with food crops. To this end, regional leaders may assist the BNN to carry out the GDAD Program,” BNN head Coms.Gen.Petrus Reinhard Golose said.

Jurong village is particularly vulnerable to drug crimes, with criminals repeatedly cultivating marijuana plants in the area.

On March 3, 2021, law enforcement personnel along with the North Aceh district government officials destroyed five hectares of a marijuana plantation in the village.

During the operation, they arrested a man, identified as M, who is suspected of owning the marijuana plantation. Meanwhile, another suspect, identified as F, escaped.

According to police, the inter-provincial drug trafficking networks are not just recruiting 30- and 40-year-olds as drug couriers, but even those in their 20s.

This week, the Kualanamu International Airport’s aviation security foiled an attempt by two residents of Bireuen district in Aceh province to transport 1.3 kg of crystal meth.

They had concealed the drugs in footwear and planned to smuggle them to Surabaya, East Java.

The suspects, identified as RD (32) and I (29), were traveling on Lion Air’s Medan-Surabaya flight, according to the airport’s spokesperson Paulina HA Simbolon.

The two women were caught red-handed at the airport’s X-ray security check along with the crystal meth package hidden inside a sandal that they had modified, Simbolon informed.

Several members of inter-provincial drug trafficking networks, based in Aceh, have tried transporting drug packages through the Kualanamu International Airport in North Sumatra.

On March 17, 2021, a drug courier from Aceh was nabbed at the airport while trying to transport 1.01 kg of crystal meth to Lombok Island in West Nusa Tenggara province.

The suspect, identified as ASH, 20, was stopped and arrested before boarding Batik Air flight ID-6881 to Soekarno Hatta International Airport in Banten province en route to Mataram in Lombok Island.

The airport’s aviation security personnel caught ASH, who had hidden the drug package in his backpack.

The suspect is a resident of Keude Bungkaih village, Muara Batu sub-district, Aceh Utara district, Aceh province.

Meanwhile, the 643 convicted drug dealers the Law and Human Rights Ministry recently transferred to the maximum security prison on Nusakambangan Island in Central Java include scores of prisoners from Aceh.

Based on the above data, it is obvious that Aceh is indeed in a state of a drug emergency.

To deal with this challenging problem, the law enforcement agencies cannot work alone. Instead, collective efforts must be made by engaging communities and families to root out the drug problem in the province. (INE)


Source: Antara News