Tue, 21 Nov 2000

Penitentiary guard arrested for drugs

JAKARTA (JP): Police have arrested a guard at Cipinang Penitentiary for his role in distributing drugs to prisoners, Jakarta Police Criminal Investigation chief Sr. Supt. Harry Montolalu said on Monday.

"The guard, Mardiono, was suspected of smuggling drugs into the prison, which were then distributed among the prisoners," Harry said from police headquarters.

He said that Mardiono, arrested last Thursday, had been cooperating with an African prisoner named Kofe, who acted as the drug distributor.

Harry said the police launched an investigation based on a tip-off on the ongoing drug distribution at the prison.

After several days of surveillance, Harry said, Mardiono was seen meeting another man, also African, identified as Bobby, across the street in front of the penitentiary on Thursday.

"The man handed Mardiono a package wrapped in plastic and Mardiono later brought it into the prison," Harry said. "He gave the package to Kofe who then handed him two similar packages."

Several minutes later, Mardiono left the prison with the two packages, Harry said. However, Bobby had left the area.

Police then apprehended Mardiono and opened the two packages.

"The police found a total of Rp 21.3 million in the packages," Harry said.

Harry said they were looking for Bobby. Kofe, who was sent to jail for drugs, could face more charges for his role in the latest incident, he said.

There was no comment from prison authorities.

Earlier on July, police apprehended two prisoners at Salemba Prison in Central Jakarta for drug possession and seized 533 ecstasy pills, four plastic bags of shabu-shabu (crystal methamphetamine) weighing 15 grams, seven sedatives and some drug paraphernalia.

Following the arrest, another guard was questioned after prisoners claimed they had bought the drugs from him. The case is still under investigation.(jaw)