The Jakarta Post
Drug smuggling through Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang has reached a record high as smugglers invent various ways to get through customs.
Customs and Excise director general Agung Kuswandono said on Tuesday that the airport's customs officers had recorded 83 drug smuggling cases as of mid-November.
The office recorded 39 cases in 2012 and 52 in 2011.
Agung said that the total amount of seized drugs and their street value might also be the highest compared to those confiscated in previous years.
He said that from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 alone, customs officers had foiled five smuggling attempts of 7,802 grams of crystal methamphetamine, locally known as shabu-shabu, and 805.5 grams of heroin worth Rp 11,615 billion (US$1 million) in total.
The officers detained five suspects, including two Malaysians identified only as YP and HB, an Austrian (SM), a Taiwanese (TK) and an Indonesian (AP). They allegedly attempted to smuggled the drugs in from Hong Kong, Malaysia and Abu Dhabi.
He explained that not only were they carrying a large amount, they also used creative ways in their
attempts to smuggle the drugs into the country. Suspects YP and HB reportedly wrapped plastic-covered shabu-shabu around their bodies while SM allegedly inserted the drug into the frame of her suitcase.
National Narcotics Agency (BNN) spokesman Sumirat Dwiyanto said that the agency had found that many smugglers tested new methods to pass screening at the airport.
For example, one smuggler inserted heroin into curtain rings and sent it to the country via an international courier air service, he said. He also said that his agency had found a new kind of drug that was shaped like a piece of paper or an envelope.
'It is like a regular piece of paper or envelop, but the paper contains drugs,' he added.
Agung said that the increased number of drug smuggling cases might be due to increased demand for drugs on the domestic market.
'We do not know for sure the total drug demand in the country, but I believe that greater supply means greater demand,' he added.
Agung said he would deploy more officers at airports across the country and would encourage them to stay alert for suspicious activities and behavior at airports.
'It is important to stay alert at all times, because we believe that entry points [airports] could be potential entrances for international drug smugglers,' he said. (koi)
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