Thu, 25 Aug 1994

U.S. embassy guard gets 7 years in drug case

JAKARTA (JP): An American Air Force officer tried over a Jakarta drug case was sentenced to seven years in prison by a military tribunal in the U.S. territory of Guam.

The verdict is four years more than the sentence meted out by a Jakarta district court to his Dutch accomplices.

Steven J. Bryner, formerly a security guard at the U.S. embassy in Jakarta, was sentenced on Aug. 2 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, on charges of aiding and abetting Dutchman Christian van den Bosch and Leonard Jacobus, alias Levi, another Dutch national, in the trafficking of Eva pills which contain derivat amphetamine, a substance considered a dangerous drug.

Christian and Levi each received three years from the Central Jakarta District Court last month.

Present at Bryner's trial were Brig. Gen. Rusdihardjo, Chief of the Criminal Investigation Division for Indonesian National Police, and Bruce W. Tilly, a security attache at the U.S. embassy here.

Rusdihardjo and Tilly told reporters on Tuesday that Bryner pled guilty to conspiracy to traffic and distribute Eva pills.

The prosecution also charged him with tarnishing the image of the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. embassy in Indonesia by his deed for which the officer has apologized to the Indonesian government.

The military court ordered that the Air Force demote Bryner and dishonorably discharge him from active service.

Outdated law

"The two (Christian and Levi) received lighter punishment due to shortcomings in our outdated law which was produced during the Dutch colonial period. We are now drafting a new, stricter law on the matter," Rusdihardjo said in a press conference here Tuesday.

Also present at the meeting were Indonesian national police spokesman Brig. Gen. IK Ratta and assistant to the press attache at the U.S. embassy, Steve Schermerhorn.

Bryner, a fellow Air Force officer and security guard at the U.S. embassy in Jakarta, Peter Karajin, and the two Dutchmen were captured by Central Jakarta police while attempting to sell 167 "Eva" pills to an Indonesian by the name of Irsan at the Borobudur Inter-Continental Hotel on Feb. 6.

Irsan managed to elude the dragnet and remains at large.

Upon their arrest at the hotel, police then began a search of the house at Jl. Cikatomas I in which the four foreigners had been living and found 7,500 Eva pills hidden in a cabinet.

Christian and Levi were detained and tried here, but Bryner and Karajin were quickly deported to the U.S. because of their diplomatic immunity.

Tilly said that Karajin will be tried in the near future.(jsk)