Jakarta. The National Narcotics Agency, or BNN, revealed on Thursday that it had uncovered 23 international drug networks this year, while also saying that criminals mostly rely on maritime means to smuggle the illicit substances into Indonesia.
Throughout 2022, BNN exposed a total of 49 drug trafficking networks, including 26 home-grown networks, according to BNN chief Petrus Golose.
The anti-drug squad named 1,209 individuals as suspects in 768 narcotics cases related to the drug networks. They have also uncovered two cases of clandestine labs — where criminals secretly manufacture drugs at concealed locations — involving five suspects.
The agency confiscated 1.902 tons of methamphetamine, among others, as evidence against the drug networks.
"We have seized 1.06 tons of marijuana, and 262,789 ecstasy pills, and 16.5 kilograms of ecstasy in powder form," Golose told reporters in a year-end press in Jakarta.
BNN destroyed a total of 63.9 hectares of marijuana farms which had around 152.8 tons of cannabis.
Drug trafficking has always been synonymous with money laundering. BNN reported that it had uncovered 17 money laundering cases with 20 suspects and Rp 33.8 billion ($2.16 million) in assets.
According to Golose, maritime smuggling is the usual modus operandi used by drug traffickers in Indonesia. They would smuggle the drugs into Indonesia by sea routes. The drugs will then get distributed within the archipelagic country by land or air.
“I would say almost 95 percent [of the smuggled drugs] enter Indonesia by sea,” Gelose said.
Drugs from the infamous opium-producing region Golden Triangle also make it to Indonesia via maritime means. The Golden Triangle encompasses parts of Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand. Drugs from major producers in Myanmar will make their way to neighboring Laos and eventually Thailand, he added.
"The smugglers would then transport the substances from Thailand to Indonesia by ships. They would trade the drugs on ships at the exclusive economic zones," Golose told the press.
BNN has joined forces with its Laotian counterpart to crack down on drug trafficking in the Golden Triangle, particularly in the Laos-Myanmar borders. But Golose admitted that the political instability in major opium producer Myanmar became quite a hurdle for their crackdown efforts.
Golose added that drugs such as new psychoactive substances (NPS) and amphetamine circulating in Indonesia mostly came from outside the country, in particular the Golden Triangle and Golden Crescent -- another global opium hub that encompasses Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan.
BNN is also working with South American authorities to combat cocaine smuggling.
“We cannot address transnational organized crimes alone,” Gelose said.