Sat, 27 Aug 1994

Three held, bags of ganja seized in drug operation

JAKARTA (JP): Police announced the seizure of several bags of marijuana worth an estimated Rp 6 million (US$2,790) and captured three men in connection with the drug haul.

Lt. Col. Latief Rabar, a spokesman for City Police, said yesterday that the three, all residents of Bintara Jaya housing complex, West Bekasi, were arrested on Wednesday.

The three were identified as Handoyo, 27, Irwansyah, 25, and Coki, alias Ucok, 18, a high-school student.

Police said that Ucok and Handoyo bought the drug from Irwansyah, who claimed to have received it from Tampubolon who is registered on the police black list as a notorious drug trafficker.

Lt. Col. Djoko Satriyo, chief of the Drug Investigative Office at city police headquarters, said that drug traffickers have moved their operations to the suburbs since the launching of Operation Cleansing in April.

"They moved to suburban areas because their sales dropped drastically in Jakarta since the operation," Djoko said.

The black market price of marijuana in the city has reportedly risen from around Rp 800,000 (US$372) per kilogram two years ago to Rp 1,800,000 ($837) due to lack of supply since the police started getting tough on drug trafficking syndicates.

In order to avoid police dragnets, drug traffickers who formerly shipped the marijuana by bus from Aceh, a major drug producing region in northern Sumatra, have turned to the sea as a transport option.

Meanwhile Australian police thanked city police for their cooperation which led to huge recent seizure.


In a letter dated Aug. 6 sent to the Deputy of the National Police Chief for Operational Affairs Maj. Gen. Koesparmono Irsan, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) expressed gratitude to city police, who tipped them off over an attempt to smuggle 14 tons of marijuana to Australia from Thailand. AFP successfully foiled the smuggling attempt and arrested the smugglers.

Djoko said the Jakarta City Police gave the tip to AFP in March 1993.

In the beginning, Djoko said, city police confiscated one kilogram of marijuana from several Indonesians, who claimed to have obtained the goods from sailors at the Sunda Kelapa port, North Jakarta.

Based on the information, police apprehended 14 sailors, who later confessed that they had received the goods from the crew of an Indonesian-flagged ship which had set sail for Australia carrying 14 tons marijuana produced in Thailand.

City Police sent the message via the Australian embassy in Jakarta to AFP who later staged a large-scale drug interdiction operation.

The Australian police arrested the smugglers, one of whom was identified as Michael Sidney. Michael was recently sentenced to seven years imprisonment by an Australian court. (jsk)