Fri, 14 Jan 2000

Police identify five alleged foreign drug suppliers

JAKARTA (JP): City police have established the identities of five foreigners shot dead during a drug raid at a rented house in South Jakarta on Wednesday evening.

Jakarta Police detectives chief Col. Alex Bambang Riatmodjo identified the deceased on Thursday as Semeiu Jhola Oladi Pupo and Muueeden Boca Rinwa of Nigeria; Freeman Charles Siafa of Liberia; Ebraheem Mohammed of Togo; and Mouza Sulaiman Domala of the Ivory Coast.

The deceased, suspected members of an international drug syndicate, have been taken to state-run Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital for postmortem examinations.

As of Thursday evening the bodies had not been examined because doctors were still awaiting permission to perform the postmortems.

As part of their operation, police also detained seven Indonesians believed to be local members of the drug syndicate.

The suspects were identified as Merika Franola, Deni Setya Maharwan, Ranni Andriani, Nelly Fitria Ariani, Rosyati, Lukman Hadi Subarkat and Andi Sukandi.

Merika is reported to be the wife of Mouza Sulaiman Domala.

Alex said the seven were arrested at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport about five hours before the shooting at the house on Jl. Cempaka Dua Dalam in Cipete, South Jakarta.

Police seized 1.6 kilograms of heroin and four kilograms of cocaine from Merika; six kilograms of cocaine and US$3,000 in cash from Ranni; and five kilograms of cocaine and $3,000 in cash from Deni, he said.

Two of the suspects, Ranni and Deni, were attempting to board a plane to London via Hong Kong at the time of their arrest.

"Of the seven suspects, four have already admitted to their roles (in the gang)," Alex said.

Merika, alias Rika, alias Cunbe Fransiska, ordered where the drugs were to be delivered by the other suspects, who acted as couriers for the syndicate, he said.

Deni, alias Rapi Mohamad Najib, a former subdistrict head in Rancagon, Cianjur, West Java, successfully smuggled drugs from Thailand and Pakistan into Jakarta five times from April to December last year. He also smuggled a shipment of drugs from Jakarta to London on Dec. 5, Alex said.

Ranni, alias Melisa Aprilia, made at least three trips since last September for the syndicate, carrying drugs from Thailand and Pakistan into Jakarta, Alex said.


The officer, who led the raid on the house in Cipete, said the five suspects killed by officers had been wanted by police for the past three years on suspicion of being the largest suppliers of cocaine and heroin to Jakarta.

He added that the raid was simply a follow-up to the arrest of the seven suspects at the international airport.

The operation at the airport involved at least 60 detectives led by city police detective Lt. Col. Abdullah, who is head of the narcotics unit.

Abdullah said he divided his team into 10 groups, each led by his best captains, with the groups deployed throughout the airport.

"I had teams spread out at the arrivals gate, the departures gate, the toilets, immigration, everywhere. Some others were posted along alternative routes out of the airport because we know that these criminals are damn smart ... They're ghosts," he said.

He said he and his team had been trailing the gang members for some time, particularly Merika and her husband Mouza Sulaiman.

During the operation at the airport, Abdullah said police momentarily lost sight of Merika, Deni and Ranni.

"One minute Rika was there, then gone. So were the two couriers.

"Merika just had sunglasses on, no cap or anything to hide her face," he said.

Abdullah said he was amazed when later he saw several immigration officers approach and begin talking with Merika "as if she was some kind of queen".

The police learned that Deni had already boarded a Cathay Pacific flight and Ranni was preparing to board the same flight.

"The plane was heading to London via Hong Kong. Nothing was detected in their baggage, but we knew the drugs were there," Abdullah said.


Accompanied by a number of airport officers, Abdullah asked a stewardess on the flight to ask Deni to exit the plane.

"Deni got off, thinking that this was about a counterfeit passport. I told him that being Indonesian, he could not travel with a Malaysian passport. He just nodded and followed me. In a separate room, I told him about the drugs and he nodded again."

Abdullah said police then quickly arrested Ranni, Merika and the other four suspects.

Alex said Merika and her husband, who went by several aliases, including Tajudin, Tony and Jemmy, attempted to transport several kilograms of heroin from Indonesia to Pakistan last year using an Indonesian woman as a courier.

The woman, Elizabeth Ruth Carolina, 26, was arrested at Karachi International Airport, he said.

"Once Elizabeth was caught, the couple drove to Nepal and then to New Delhi, where they took a flight back to Indonesia," Alex said.

At Jakarta Police Headquarters, Merika spoke to journalists about her husband: "He taught me many things. Several times I had gone to Argentina and Brazil as a tourist. I made the right contacts and learned how to get drugs in and out safely."

She also said she did not regret her actions. "I'll accept responsibility for everything I've done."

Also at police headquarters, Deni said he was brought into the business by Merika, who was a distant cousin.

He said he needed money to repay Rp 50 million he owed to friends who helped him win the election to become Rancagon subdistrict head.

"Merika immediately lent me Rp 20 million to pay off part of my debts. I felt indebted to her.

"My wife and relatives don't know anything ... I always told them I had a diamond business abroad," Deni said before breaking into tears. (bsr/ylt/06)