Mon, 07 Aug 2000

Police seize 5 kgs of 'shabu-shabu'

JAKARTA (JP): West Jakarta Police detectives seized approximately five kilograms of shabu-shabu (crystal methamphetamine) late on Saturday night in what is being called one of the police's biggest drug busts.

The chief of the West Jakarta Police, Supt. Iwan Nuriswan Slamet, said his detectives also confiscated some 400 ecstasy pills and a number of other pills from the homes of two suspects, identified as Budi, 36, and Nora, 37.

The seized shabu-shabu has an estimated street value of Rp 750 million (US$83,300) in the capital.

Iwan said the arrests, made after weeks of observation, took place at Budi's house on Jl. Kemanggisan Raya Utama in West Jakarta and at Nora's apartment in Menara Marina in North Jakarta.

From Budi's house, which was raided at around 11 p.m., the police seized 466.3 grams of shabu-shabu and 197 ecstasy pills, Iwan said.

Because the suspect locked himself inside the house, "the police were forced to break into the house through the roof, and then arrested him along with his three accomplices, identified later as Michael, Budiman and Ihsan Gani", the officer said.

Based on statements made by Budi, the police then went to Nora's apartment, where they discovered 4.5 kilograms of shabu- shabu, 398 ecstasy pills, 1,665 grams of tartaric and 3.4 grams of caffeine (both substances used in the production of shabu- shabu), 70 Happy Five pills, a package of aluminum foil and paraphernalia used to inhale shabu-shabu.

"The female suspect admitted the drugs were hers," Iwan said.

Police are still investigating the case before formally pressing charges.

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 drug traffickers.

When interviewed at the police station, Nora denied all the charges. "My former schoolmate in Singapore, Hui Chen, sent me the drugs in lieu of money to pay his debt to me of some $45,000."

The package, she added, arrived at her apartment on Friday and was delivered by a private courier company.

She also denied she was part of drug trafficking syndicate.

"I didn't intend to sell the drugs to anybody. I only expected that he would pay me the debt." (asa)