JAKARTA • Indonesian police have seized one tonne of crystal methamphetamine valued at almost 2 trillion rupiah (S$206 million) being smuggled into Jakarta by sea, reported The Jakarta Post.
The Jakarta police narcotics directorate and the Depok police uncovered the smuggling bid when they swooped in on four Taiwanese nationals - Lin Ming Hui, Chen Wei Cyuan, Liao Guan Yu and Hsu Yung Li - on Thursday at a port in Anyer, Banten, about 140km west of Jakarta. Lin, the group leader, was shot dead while resisting arrest. The four were previously reported to be Chinese nationals.
The drug bust, the country's largest so far, has revived fears that international drug rings - 72 are believed to be active in the archipelago - are making Indonesia their hub, reported the Jakarta Globe.
According to the news site, National Anti-Narcotics Agency Chief Commissioner Budi Waseso said on Thursday that drug traffickers may be diverting their operations to Indonesia after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte began his much- criticised deadly war on drugs, which includes a shoot-on-sight order for drug dealers.
The "largest ever" seizure of crystal meth, known locally as sabu- sabu, is a victory for Indonesia's law enforcers, but General Budi said he believes the amount of drugs being smuggled into the country that escaped police attention is even larger. He estimated that there are seven million Indonesians who are believed to have used illicit drugs.
The seized drugs were packed in 51 boxes and believed to be transported on a large boat, reported The Jakarta Post. Mid-journey, the suspects allegedly moved the boxes of drugs onto smaller boats that had quieter engines, to avoid being heard by sea patrols.
The "largest ever" seizure of crystal meth, known locally as sabu-sabu, is a victory for Indonesia's law enforcers, but National Anti-Narcotics Agency Chief Commissioner Budi Waseso said he believes the amount of drugs being smuggled into the country that escaped police attention is even larger.
Wary of being caught, they reportedly submerged the boxes in the sea while waiting for it to be safe to proceed to shore. The boxes were then moved to inflatable boats and taken ashore at a port near Mandalika Hotel, which had closed down.
The arrest was made possible after the police received a tip-off from the Taiwanese police about a big drug shipment to Indonesia.
"The lives of two million people may be saved because we foiled the drug smuggling," Jakarta police chief Mochammad Iriawan said on Thursday.
Preliminary investigations show that the suspects received 200 million rupiah from a person identified only as AB, who allegedly ordered the drugs.