The Jakarta Post
An Indonesian citizen identified only by the initials AA has been arrested by authorities in Manila after she was caught in possession of crystal methamphetamine within the territory of the Philippines, which is known for its aggressive war against drugs.
A spokesperson to the Indonesian National Police, Sr. Comr. Asep Adi Saputra, confirmed on Tuesday that AA was apprehended along with eight kilograms of crystal meth as evidence.
The Philippine narcotics police were investigating the case, he said.
"It's confirmed that an Indonesian citizen with the initials AA was involved in drug syndication [and was arrested] with the evidence of eight kilograms of meth,” Asep said as quoted by kompas.com.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported separately that the suspect, a woman, was arrested at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) in the capital Manila, allegedly with about 54 million pesos (US$1 million) worth of crystal meth in her luggage.
She was busted on early Monday upon her arrival from Cambodia after an X-ray scan found suspicious matter in her luggage. Customs authorities subsequently found crystal meth wrapped in aluminum foil, tucked in the lining of her luggage.
AA is now in the custody of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the report said.
Under Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, the Southeast Asian country has been engaged in a hawkish war against drugs, which had claimed the lives of thousands.
The Filipino government announced previously that about 6,600 suspected drug offenders had been killed during shootouts with the police, although human rights group said that the death toll is at least 27,000.
AA, however, apparently was not the first Indonesian to be implicated in a drug trafficking case in the Philippines. In September 2012, an Indonesian woman, Dwi Wulandari, was charged with smuggling six kilograms of cocaine into the Philippines after she was arrested at the Naia.
She was handed a life sentence by the Pasay City Regional Trial Court in 2017 but appealed the verdict with the help of public attorneys. In March this year, the presiding judge at the Manila Court of Appeal ruled she was not guilty of all charges and overturned the previous verdict.
With assistance from Indonesian Embassy officials in Manila, Dwi returned to her hometown in Blitar, East Java, in May.
Similar to the Philippines, Indonesia is also known to have some of the world’s strictest drug laws as they involve the death penalty.
Indonesia has executed dozens of drug convicts and faced backlash in 2015 when the country executed several foreign nationals.
Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipino who was sentenced to death nine years ago after being caught in possession of heroin in Yogyakarta, escaped execution at the last minute because of a pending legal case. (vny)