SEMARANG - The National Narcotics Agency (BNN) Central Java branch has smashed a drug ring in Nusakambangan Penitentiary in Cilacap, Central Java, revealing that two convicts were directing the trafficking of crystal methamphetamine across the country.
The BNN team busted Sartoni alias Toni and Sutrisno alias Pak Tris, for directing drug trafficking from inside the prison. The team confiscated two cell phones used in the convicts' operations.
"They used the cell phones to control the trade, transferring money via e-banking and using mules to deliver the drugs," BNN Central Java chief Sr. Comr. Soetarmono said on Monday in Semarang. According to the BNN, the crystal meth came from a Nigerian syndicate.
Sartoni has been transferred to Kedungpane Penitentiary in Semarang, while Sutrisno is still undergoing the transfer.
The bust started after the Jakarta and Central Java branches of BNN arrested drug mule Agung Sedayu Widiyarso on a bus heading to Surakarta, Central Java, from Pulogadung Bus Terminal in East Jakarta on Feb. 3.
He was in possession of 297 grams of crystal meth, worth Rp 594 million.
"The arrest was made based on information from BNN Jakarta that drugs were being trafficked on a Raya bus from Pulogadung to Tirtonadi Bus Terminal in Surakarta," Soetarmono said.
Agung was arrested as the bus stopped at a gas station on Jl. Setiabudi in Semarang, with six packs of crystal meth hidden in talcum powder products.
Agung said the job had been ordered by Sartoni and Sutrisno.
BNN Central Java coordinated with the province's Law and Human Rights Agency to enter Nusakambangan prison on Feb. 5.
Agung has been detained for further questioning.
The drug-ring bust was by no means the first at Nusakambangan. In one of the most recent busts at Nusakambangan in January 2013, Nigerian Adam Wilson, Singaporean Tan Swa Lin and Malaysian Lee Chee Hen were 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 is on death row in Nusakambangan, while Lee is incarcerated in Cipinang Penitentiary. Wilson was executed later that year.
In 2012, seven inmates - including five on death row - were busted in two cases in separate prisons on Nusakambangan Island in November.
The inmates were 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.
Nusakambangan is a prison island for high-profile inmates. It is located off Penyu Bay, Cilacap, some 2-kilometers from Java.
The island can be accessed via a number of points, including the Wijaya Pura pier used by prison employees, Teluk Penyu Beach and Kampung Laut village.
Nusakambangan accommodates about 1,500 high-profile inmates serving over five-year sentences, including drug convicts.
Last month, the Attorney General's Office (AGO) executed six drug convicts - five foreigners and one Indonesian - in an unspecified location on the prison island.
The AGO has revealed plans to execute 11 more death-row convicts - eight drug convicts and three murderers - in February on Nusakambangan.
Included in the list of 11 convicts is the Bali Nine duo, Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.
The other drug convicts to face the firing squad are Rodrigo Gularte of Brazil, Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso of the Philippines, Serge Areski Atlaoui of France, Martin Anderson of Ghana, Raheem Agbaje Salami of Nigeria and Indonesian Zainal Abidin.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is standing by his plan to enforce the death penalty for drug convicts, citing the crime's devastating impact on the country's youth.
Jokowi has repeatedly said that such a firm and harsh approach is necessary to combat the widespread use of narcotics.
According to the President, there are 1.2 million drug users already in the acute stages of addiction who cannot be treated, with 40 to 50 drug addicts, mostly young people, losing their lives every day.