Sat, 09 Oct 1999

Council to probe police involvement in drug sales

JAKARTA (JP): The City Council's Commission E for social welfare affairs said on Friday it would invite Jakarta Police chief Maj. Gen. Noegroho Djajusman to clarify on Oct. 19 an allegation that police are involved in the resale of impounded drugs.

Commission E secretary Ishak Iskandar said the clarification was needed to tackle the roots of the problem, which needed to be defined before the council could formulate plans to combat drug issues.

"We hope that the drug eradication movement will not be just lip service.

"The police have successfully conducted raids and confiscated a huge amount of drugs, but on the other hand they, or several officers within the police corps, are supplying the sedatives back onto the market," he said.

Ishak, a legislator from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) faction, said the council would force the police and the city administration to seriously address the war against drugs, including the resale of drugs.

He said the council would also invite other related institutions to attend the meeting with the city police chief.

At a recent seminar on drug abuse, lawyer Henry Yosodiningrat suggested that police could be implicated in the resale of confiscated drugs.

"Drug prices usually decrease after a police raid. It's a strong indication that the confiscated drugs were resold," Henry said.


The media have recently been swamped with stories on drug seizures by police. In what police claimed was their biggest drug bust in 15 years, officers seized on Wednesday from a North Jakarta location 929 kilograms of marijuana, worth about Rp 1.85 billion.

Last September, the police confiscated 602 kilograms of marijuana, while in July they seized 245 kilograms of marijuana.

In response to persistent drug trafficking in the city, neighborhoods have become actively involved in drug tip-offs to police. The spirit is clearly visible in the city's densely populated subdistricts, with banners strung across streets declaring war against drug trafficking.

In Central Jakarta, banners are seen in the Tanah Abang, Petamburan and Karet subdistricts. In East Jakarta, they are found in Jatinegara subdistrict, on Jl. Dewi Sartika and in Kampung Bali Matraman subdistrict.

Ishak praised the community's active involvement in the war against drugs.

He said it would be more effective if the administration distributed in public places leaflets which outlined the sentences handed down for drug trafficking or possession.

"People will then be well informed, not only about the antidrug movement, but also about the consequences," he said.

Another PDI Perjuangan legislator, Audy I.Z. Tambunan, also supported the display of antidrug banners.

"Banners will not be effective in eradicating drug use. But at least they will restrain people from involvement in drug trafficking.

"People should work hand in hand in a campaign against drugs, because it involves a big business network," he said.

Audy questioned the effectiveness of the implementation of the death penalty, which is stipulated in the 1997 law on narcotics.

"The law has so far never been implemented toward the drug traffickers." (ind)