Tue, 04 Sep 2001

Thai woman caught smuggling heroin

TANGERANG (JP): Customs and excise officers managed to foil a drug trafficker's alleged attempt to smuggle 600 grams of heroin worth more than Rp1 billion (US$117,647) from Thailand to Indonesia through Soekarno-Hatta airport last Saturday morning, officials announced on Monday.

Accompanied by chief of the airport customs and excise office Jusuf Indarto, Director General of Customs and Excise Permana Agung told media that the suspect was a Thai woman, Nonthanam M. Saichon, 21.

Jusuf Indarto said that Saichon, who flew from Bangkok by Thai Airways flight TG-433, arrived at the airport at 5:30 p.m. last Saturday.

"Based on officers' intelligence observations and analysis of all passengers' conduct and profiles, officers then became suspicious of the young woman," Jusuf said.

He said that since no drug evidence had been found upon searching the suspect's luggage and clothes, suspicious officers then carefully searched the nervous suspect's underwear.

Jusuf said as soon as the suspect was ordered to undress, officers found six plastic packets containing the white powdery drug attached to her underpants and bra.

"Preliminary test results using "narcotest", conducted by customs and excise medical officers, confirmed that the packets of white powder contained 600 grams of pure heroin," Jusuf remarked, adding that the six packets reportedly had a street value of more than Rp 1 billion (US$117,647).

Permana added that the suspect is now in police detention at the national HQ for further investigation.

According to Permana Agung, by allegedly smuggling heroin into the country, the suspect had violated article 82 of Anti-drugs law No. 22/1997. The Article carries a maximum death sentence and a Rp1 billion fine.

Tangerang district court has sentenced 13 drug traffickers to death over the past 18 months.

The district court is also scheduled on Tuesday to hand down another death penalty to African Namaona Denis, for whom the prosecutor had demanded life imprisonment on Aug. 17, for smuggling 1 kilogram of heroin from Pakistan into the country in April.

Tangerang prosecutors office also received last Friday the dossiers from the National Police who had completed their investigation into Edith Yunita Sianturi, 24, a resident of Depok, West Java, arrested at the airport for smuggling 1 kilogram of heroin from Thailand early in June. (41)