Thu, 03 Jul 2003

3 suspected dealers wanted following Nigerian's arrest

Damar Harsanto and Multa Fidrus, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta/Tangerang

Police are looking for an Algerian and two Indonesians allegedly involved in drug smuggling. This follows the arrest of Nigerian Stephen Rasheed Akinyemi on Tuesday at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, who was found to have 400 grams of heroin concealed in his underwear.

"We are chasing three suspects -- an Algerian and an Indonesian who both stay in Jakarta, and another Indonesian who is believed to be in Surabaya (East Java)," said city police chief of detectives for narcotics division Adj. Sr. Comr. Anjan Pramuka Putra.

He said the three had suspected links with drug trafficking in Indonesia.

Anjan refrained from identifying the suspects further but said that they had come under suspicion due to communications with Akinyemi.

Akinyemi, 34, a resident of Cempaka Hijau, Blok S, South Jakarta, was arrested at the airport, carrying 400 grams of heroin wrapped in several packages.

The packages were found within a sock hidden in Akinyemi's underwear. Airport security guards became suspicious when they observed something strange with the suspect's trousers.

Akinyemi was due to fly to Surabaya at 5:40 p.m. on Tuesday and had been transporting the heroin for a buyer in the country's second largest city.

He told police investigators that he had been ordered by an unidentified Algerian to pick up the heroin from an Indonesian in Jakarta and to deliver it to an Indonesian buyer in Surabaya.

"If he had delivered the packages, with a street value of Rp 500 million (about US$60,900), he would have received Rp 5 million in commission," Anjan said.

He revealed that although the police were aware of other networks operating in Indonesia, Akinyemi's network hadn't been detected by the police before the airport arrest.

Early last month police uncovered an international drug trafficking network controlled by Nigerian inmate Nwaolisa Hansen Anthony, who is currently serving a life sentence at the Cipinang prison in East Jakarta.

Anthony contacted the men working for him by using his mobile phone to call as far away as Pakistan. Every week Anthony's men were reportedly able to smuggle between four and five kilograms of heroin into Indonesia.

The trafficking was often undertaken by three or four couriers who swallowed the packages of heroin to thwart airport security checks. The heroin was transported into Jakarta via Polonia Airport in the North Sumatra capital of Medan, and Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali.

Police arrested six members of Antony's network in Jakarta, who were identified as Nengsih, Fanny Cynthia alias Maya, Triyatmi alias Tri, George Obinya alias Andy, Chukwuka Sunday Thomas alias Mature alias Macho.

Anjan also claimed that in the last week his office had managed to uncover two groups of drug traffickers led by Budiono alias Honggi and Harri Aritonang.

"In that case we captured a total of 13 suspects and confiscated 38.1 grams of heroin, 670 grams of shabu-shabu (low- grade heroin) and 249 ecstasy pills." he added.