Jakarta. The National Police's Criminal Investigation Unit, or Bareskrim, has thwarted an attempt by an international drug ring to smuggle 159 kilograms of methamphetamine, 3,000 ecstasy pills and 300 happy-five pills into Indonesia.
"We arrested five drug smugglers during our 'Halilintar' sting, which involved the Customs and Excise Office, the Police Mobile Brigade and regional police forces. We seized a total of 159 kilograms of methamphetamine, 3,000 ecstasy pills and 300 happy-five pills," Bareskrim Chief Listyo Sigit said on Thursday.
Listyo said the drug smugglers were arrested in three separate operations.
On May 27, police arrested a man, identified by his initials ES, during a drug deal at a welding workshop in Bekasi, West Java.
The police seized 35 kilograms of methamphetamine, a mobile phone and Rp 700,000 ($50) in cash during the sting.
"ES had connections to a narcotics syndicate and another smuggling attempt in Pekanbaru, Riau," Listyo said in a virtual press conference.
On June 18, police arrested another man, identified as SD, and seized 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine hidden in Chinese tea boxes, 3,000 ecstasy pills, 300 happy-five pills, two mobile phones and Rp 900,000 in cash.
According to the police, ES and SD had been working with Malaysian smugglers identified as X and A, and another smuggler who is currently in jail.
On June 21, the police arrested more men – US, SY and IR – in the Aceh Sea and seized 119 kilograms of methamphetamine, again packed in Chinese tea boxes, a motorboat, a satellite phone and three mobile phones.
The men were arrested in the middle of a ship-to-ship drug deal that actually happened in Malaysian territory, Listyo said.
"They were planning to transport the drugs on land routes, disguising them as food products," he said.
The police said the smugglers were connected to a Chinese drug ring called the Golden Triangle that has been smuggling narcotics into Indonesia through Thailand and Malaysia.
"These men will be charged with the 2009 Narcotics Law and may face the death penalty," Listyo said.
Customs and Excise Office Director-General Heru Pambudi said smugglers commonly used three methods to transport drugs between countries: point-to-point, ship-to-ship or drop-and-pick up.
The point-to-point method requires smugglers to pick up the narcotics from the nearest country and carry them into their own country.
"Ship-to-ship means the drug deal happens on a boat in the middle of the sea. Using the drop-and-pick up method, the drugs will be dropped at an agreed spot to be picked up later when it's safe," he said.