A joint operation team of the South Sulawesi police and the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) South Sulawesi branch arrested a Thai female citizen, Runtipang Ammahia, 36, at the Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport, Makassar, South Sulawesi, on Friday evening, for an alleged smuggling attempt of one kilogram of crystal methamphetamine or “shabu-shabu” worth Rp 1.2 billion (US$123,494).
Runtipang, who departed from Singapore using Garuda Indonesia with flight number GA-849, was arrested shortly after she arrived at the airport around 6:30 p.m., local time, Friday.
The South Sulawesi police spokesman Sr.Comr.Endi Sutendi confirmed the arrest. “Currently, she is undergoing a string of investigations by the investigator team,” he said on Saturday.
Endi said that Runtipang was found to have brought shabu-shabu when the Customs and Excise Office officials at the Sultan Hasanuddin airport checked her luggage using an x-ray detection facility.
“When her luggage was x-ray checked, they detected several objects inside that aroused suspicion,” said Endi.
The officials opened the luggage and found two aluminium foil-wrapped packages within stacks of clothing which contained shabu-shabu. “Each package contained 500 grams of shabu-shabu,” said Endi.
Speaking to The Jakarta Post, Endi said that the joint team was still investigating the case as the suspect allegedly had a network in Indonesia, specifically in Jakarta. On whether Runtipang was involved in previous drug smuggling cases remained a question.
Last year, the BNN arrested a Singaporean at Sultan Hanasuddin airport for bringing in one kilogram of shabu-shabu.
“We continue to investigate the case as there is a possibility that the suspect is part of a drug syndicate in Indonesia,” said Endi.
If proven guilty, the suspect can face a penalty of five years in prison at minimum as stipulated in Law No.35/2009 on narcotics. (nai/ebf)