BNN foils attempt to smuggle 1.4m ecstasy pills
The National Narcotics Agency (BNN) has announced that a joint operation has foiled an attempt to smuggle more than 1.4 million of ecstasy pills from China to Indonesia in a shipping container.
The announcement, made at the BNN’s headquarters in Jakarta on Monday, follows President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s decision last week to grant clemency to Schapelle Corby.
Yudhoyono’s decision to shave five years off of the Australian drug smuggler’s sentence has drawn ire from critics, who said that the clemency would cast doubts on the government’s commitment to stem the narcotics trade.
“The operation was conducted with support of officials from the BNN, the National Police, the Customs Office, the Immigration Office and the Indonesian Military,” the BNN chief for drug-smuggling operations, Brig. Gen. Benny J Mamoto, said.
“The pills were of good quality. Each is worth about Rp 300,000 (US$32.1). So the total value of the drugs seized is approximately Rp 423.74 billion,” he said. The amount is equivalent to US$45.34 million.
The operation led to the arrest of eight suspects, according to a statement released by the BNN.
A manhunt was launched following the drug bust to find the intended destination of the drugs and the mastermind of the drug-smuggling syndicate, Benny said.
According to Benny, the ecstasy pills were found in a shipping container dispatched from Shenzen, China, and destined for Jakarta on board the vessel YM. Instruction Voyage 93 S.
“The boat, which departed from Lianyungan Port in Shenzen on April 28, arrived at Jakarta International Container Terminal on May 8, and the container holding the drugs was subsequently unloaded,” Benny said.
A suspect pretending to be an official from the Indonesian Military’s (TNI) Strategic Intelligence Agency (BAIS) dealt with the administrative issues to obtain the needed clearance to release the cargo, according to Benny.
“The culprit, identified by the initial ‘S’, faked the signature of a BAIS official and the seal of the institution,” Benny said, adding that the bogus official was among the suspects.
A police canine unit failed to detect the pills because they were stored inside vacuum-sealed packages, he said.
On Friday, BNN agents arrested a man identified by the initials RS who had allegedly organized the smuggling.
“Later that day, after we had obtained sufficient preliminary evidence, officers ambushed the container, which was just pulled out of the container terminal in Tanjung Priok,” Benny said.
After opening the container, agents found 12 cardboard boxes containing the ecstasy pills.
The boxes were hidden under piles of fish tanks and boxes of aquarium accessories.
Other suspects in the case were identified as “R”, “A”, “M”, “AR”, “MM” and “J”.
“Given the large number of ecstasy pills that we have seized, about 4 million Indonesians can be saved from the dangers of drugs,” according to Benny.