Indonesia facing threat of being drug market destination: Finance minister

Growing Indonesian economy and middle class make the country an attractive market for illicit drugs, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati has said.

“Indonesia with fairly strong economic growth and growing middle class population have made itself a potential market for psychotropics,” Sri Mulyani told reporters here on Friday.

Sri Mulyani said illicit drug smuggling has increased from year to year showing that the perpetrators are ready to take risk for the prospects of big profit.

The increase in the cases of smuggling was obvious from the reported cases by the Customs and Excises Directorate General in 2014-2016.

In 2014, there were 216 cases with material evidence of 316.06 kilograms. In 2015, there were less cases in number at 176 with larger material evidence of 599.75 kilograms but in 2016 up to November, the number of cases rose to 223 with material evidence of 1,072.55 kilograms.

“The three fold increase in the volume of evidence seized in the period of 2014-2016 showed that Indonesia is facing serious drug threat of big market destination for international drug syndicates,” the minister said.

Sri Mulyani, therefore, expressed appreciation for cooperation between the National Anti Drug Agency (BNN) and the Customs and Excise Directorate General in foiling the distribution of illicit drugs last Tuesday.

“This is a dangerous operation as the perpetrators were armed with firearms. I appreciate BNN and the customs service for the operation to arrest the perpetrators,” she said.

In a raid on Tuesday, BNN and the Customs and Excise Directorate General foiled the distribution of 100.6 kg of methamphetamine and 300,250 pills of Happy Five (H5) from Taiwan.

The raid took place at the Kosambi Central Warehousing Complex in Tangerang on information of imports of the illicit drugs from Taiwan to Indonesia via Tanjung Priok, Jakarta.

Three suspects were arrested including two Taiwanese identified as YJCH and HCHL and an Indonesian ZA, who was later known to be a military man.

HCHL and ZA were shot dead in the incident as they resisted arrest and tried to escape.

YJCH , if found guilty is facing a maximum sentence of death.

BNN confiscated drugs and psychotropics as well as firearm with ammunition, a car and nine hand phones.

From initial investigation it was known that the drugs were to be picked up by buyers to be sold again in large cities such as Jakarta, Surabaya, Tangerang and Semarang.

Currently, BNN in cooperation with the Customs and Excise Directorate General is still carrying out investigation on the international syndicate and its channels of smuggling the illicit drugs to Indonesia.

With the successful raid BNN and the Customs and Excise Directorate General have saved around 900,000 Indonesians from being the target of the drug traffickers .

Source: Antara News