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Jakarta Post

Drug dealers getting rich behind bars

  • Fikri Zaki Muhammadi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, June 14, 2013   /  08:51 am

A recent drugs bust by the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) revealed that the operation was controlled by an inmate at the Cipinang Narcotics Penitentiary.

A man referred to as R was caught red-handed on Wednesday while trying to bury a machine, used to produce ecstasy pills, behind a house in Kalideres, West Jakarta.

Investigators found that the man worked for Nico, 29, who had been sentenced to 17 years'€™ in prison and fined Rp 2 billion (US$202,461) in 2011 for shooting at a Transjakarta bus and possessing more than 11,000 ecstasy pills and methamphetamine at his house in Penjaringan, North Jakarta.

The agency alleges that Nico controlled the ecstasy '€œfactory'€ from behind bars using a cellular phone.

Cipinang prison warden Dewa Putu Gede acknowledged that the use of cell phones among prisoners was high.

'€œWe admit that we cannot eradicate the practice 100 percent because there are a lot of interests playing out here,'€ he told The Jakarta Post on Thursday. '€œBut we are doing our best to crack down on this.'€

He said 10 telephone booths had been installed in the prison and that the compound was also equipped with a signal jammer to block cell phone signals.

'€œBut as of now, the equipment can only block GSM [Global System for Mobile] signals,'€ he said, adding that he had formed a partnership with a developer to build a device that could also block CDMA phone signals.

'€œWe also routinely conduct surprise raids in the cells,'€ he added.

Dewa stated that his team at the Cipinang Narcotics Penitentiary was still having difficulty with reducing cell phone usage.

'€œThey [inmates] get hold of the phones bit by bit: first the battery, then the casing, and so on,'€ warden Thurman Hutapea said as quoted by

The Jakarta Narcotics Agency'€™s head of prevention, Sapari Hartodiharjo, said there was a high possibility that prison officials were complicit with these inmates.

'€œIt'€™s has happened several times that even after the warden says '€˜there are no phones'€™, the police or our personnel find one,'€ he said.

Sapari said that inmates may have borrowed phones from prison guards in exchange for a substantial amount of money. '€œHow could they refuse, say Rp 5 million, for lending their phone?'€

He added that wardens at any penitentiaries found to have one or more inmates running narcotics businesses should be fired to create a deterrent. He also urged the Attorney General'€™s Office to swiftly execute death row inmates before they could commit further crimes from behind bars.

University of Indonesia criminologist Bambang Widodo Umar echoed Sapari, saying that the temptation among prison officials to abuse their authority was dangerously high.

'€œPrisoners and guards have a mutually beneficial relationship; they need one another,'€ he said. '€œUnless the management and regulations are changed, this will continue.'€

He said that internal supervision at penitentiaries was insufficient, but that no external entity provided any supervision, either. '€œThe state should establish a special body, under the law, to monitor prisons,'€ he said.

Ain'€™t no bars to stop drug dealing

September 2012
'€¢ Nigerian Adam Wilson, sentenced to death for heroin smuggling, is busted for running a crystal methamphetamine ring from prison on Nusakambangan Island. Police confiscate 8.7 kilograms of crystal meth worth a staggering Rp 17.4 billion. Only in March 2013, after 10 years in jail, was Wilson executed.

November 2012
'€¢ Seven inmates '€” including five on death row '€” are busted in two cases in separate prisons on Nusakambangan Island. The inmates are linked to the arrest of a journalist in Jakarta carrying 2.6 kilograms of crystal meth and counterfeit money, and the confiscation of 2.4 kg of crystal meth in Jayapura, Papua.

November 2012
'€¢ Meirika '€œOla'€ Franola is accused of controlling a drug ring from Tangerang Penitentiary after a smuggler is arrested at the airport in Bandung, West Java. Ola'€™s death sentence was commuted by the President on Sept. 26, 2011.

January 2013
'€¢ Wilson, Singaporean national Tan Swa Lin and Malaysian Lee Chee Hen are named as ringleaders by 16 drug couriers arrested in sting operations. The three were said to have taken orders from a kingpin in Malaysia. Tan was put on death row in Nusakambangan, while Lee was incarcerated at Cipinang prison.

Source: The Jakarta Post

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