Sat, 09 Oct 1999

Police seize 12m fake pills in one-day raid

JAKARTA (JP): City police detectives seized 12 million fake pills of least nine different brands from a warehouse on Jl. M. Saari, Sunter subdistrict, North Jakarta, on Friday afternoon.

Chief of detectives Col. Alex Bambang Riatmodjo said 40-year- old Jufri Tumatuali was the lone suspect arrested in the one-day raid. Most of the pills carried the brands of antihistamine Dextamine and pain reliever Ponstan.

"Police found three truckloads of pills in the warehouse. Jufri's house is directly opposite the warehouse. We've been after this man for the past two weeks," Alex said at the warehouse.

A high-ranking officer of the Jakarta Police detectives narcotics division said the police received information about Jufri about two weeks ago.

"Last week, we called Jufri and told him that we were ready to buy Rp 200 million worth of all those pills... all nine brands," said the officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

"Jufri agreed. We met on Thursday night in a hotel near here. I gave him a down payment of Rp 20 million. He said he would go to his warehouse to get the pills. When he drove a truck outside his driveway, we caught him. So, he showed us his warehouse."

Jufri said at his residence that he rented the warehouse beginning in March to store the pills. He claimed that most of the pills were real.

"There are in all 12 million pills, packed in 400 cartons. Only one carton (30,000 pills) has fake pills. The others are real, I assure you. They are all worth about Rp 128 million (US$16,000), or Rp 10.6 per pill," said the father of two teenagers.

He added that he had never sold any of the pills.

Dextamine costs about Rp 500 per pill at most pharmacies across the capital.

Jufri said he was not a distributor, but a "fixer" in selling the pills.

"The supplier is a mysterious man called Hengky from Medan. He contacts me via pager once every month. I cannot contact him. He was the one who sent the pills to my warehouse," he said.

Jufri formerly owned a drugstore called Toko Maju in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta. The store closed three months ago due to a lack of business.

"I opened that store in 1984. I know about pills, believe me. Most of those 12 million pills which the police say are fake are actually real... only the contents of one carton are fake," he repeated.

Jufri paused when asked how he could determine which pills were genuine and which were fake despite having made no sales in the past six months.

"I know, I just know," he stuttered.

Ten million counterfeit capsules of the anti-impotence drug Supertetra and two tons of packaging material were confiscated from two separate warehouses on Jl. Baturaja, Tangerang, in early September.

The warehouses belonged to PT Sibalek, a pharmaceutical company. (ylt)