Sat, 04 Nov 2000

Customs foils drug smuggling attempt

TANGERANG (JP): Customs and Excise officials at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport foiled on Thursday an attempt to smuggle 40 kilograms of shabu-shabu (crystal methamphetamine) into the country in three gravestones.

The drugs would be worth billions of rupiah on the street.

Airport customs official Heru Santoso said on Friday the gravestones were shipped from Kowloon, Hong Kong, and addressed to Jl. Budi Rahayu I No. 5 in Central Jakarta.

"We got suspicious when we saw the gravestones, shipped from China Aviation Express, Ltd., Shop 5A, Kwong Shang Hong Center, on Hoi Bun Road, Kwun Tong, Kowloon. So we opened them," Heru said.

"One stone contained 12 kilograms of shabu-shabu, the other two contained 14 kilograms each."

The airport's police chief, Asst. Supt. Napoleon Bonaparte, sent officers to the address in Central Jakarta, where one suspect, identified as Robert, was placed under arrest.

"He eventually led us to his accomplices, Djufri, Esni, Udin and Lehan, who were waiting for the gravestones in Mangga Dua," Napoleon said.

In a separate development, Jakarta Police announced on Friday the seizure of 500 grams of shabu-shabu (crystal methamphetamine), 70 grams of marijuana and drug paraphernalia over the last two weeks from five suspected drug dealers during four raids.

Tanjung Priok Port Police chief Supt. S. Mamadoa said the suspects were Noldi Kaawoan, Edy Bachtiar, Darwin Tjioe, Kok Sin Kian, alias Erik, and Andie Wijaya, alias Kamaludin.

"We suspected there was an interisland network of drug trafficking, which involved transaction spots, such as Sunda Kelapa port (in North Jakarta)," said Mamadoa.

He said police arrested the first suspect, Noldi Kaawoan, on a ferry plying the Jakarta-Pontianak route at Sunda Kelapa port, and officers confiscated 100 grams of shabu-shabu and 70 grams of dried marijuana.

The drugs, hidden in noodle cups and a cardboard box, were bought for Rp 11 million an ounce in the capital, and sold for Rp 17 million an ounce in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, police said.

Based on information from Noldi, police then arrested Edy Bachtiar in front of a hotel on Jl. Pramuka, Central Jakarta, and Kok Sin Kian in front of an office complex in Mangga Besar, West Jakarta, along with a gram of shabu-shabu.

Edy, who gave private lessons in maths in Pontianak, told police he sold drugs as he could not make ends meet.

Following up on leads on the last three suspects, police apprehended the rest of the alleged gang, namely Darwing Tjioe at a hotel on Jl. Pecenongan in Central Jakarta with 2.8 grams of shabu-shabu and drug paraphernalia.

Sunda Kelapa Port Police chief Sr. Insp. Arbain A. Soleh said the last suspect, Andie Wijaya, was arrested at Kebon Jeruk toll gate in West Jakarta.

He added that some 400 grams of shabu-shabu in four small packages worth Rp 125,000 per gram, were found in Andie's vehicle.


Arbain said police would further investigate the case to find other drug traffickers in the network.

During the October raids, city police seized 901.6 grams of heroin, 231,506.3 grams of marijuana, 250.4 grams of shabu-shabu and 329 ecstacy pills.

The city police narcotics detective chief, Supt. H.S. Abdullah, said the evidence was confiscated from 84 suspects at different locations throughout Greater Jakarta.

Police also seized tens of thousands of counterfeit pills and capsules resembling various prescription drugs in the Bumi Serpong Damai real estate complex in Serpong.

"We'll keep on fighting (the war) against drugs," said Mamadoa.

Article 62 of the 1997 Law on Psychotropic Substances carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison for simple drug possession, while Article 60 of the same law carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in jail for convicted drug traffickers. (07/41/ylt)