Jakarta police foil attempt to smuggle crystal meth in Chinese tea

Illegal products: National Narcotics Agency head Comr.Gen.Budi Waseso (right), along with Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati (second right), Customs and Excise director general Heru Pambudi (second left) and Military Police (Puspom) commander Maj.Gen. Dodik Wijanarko, present crystal methamphetamine and other evidence during a Jakarta press conference on Nov.18, 2016.
The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

The Jakarta Police have thwarted an attempt to smuggle 17 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine hidden inside Chinese tea products, kompas.com reported on Sunday.

The drug syndicate attempted to cover the crime by fronting as a pharmaceutical business.

Jakarta Police narcotics director Sr. Comr. Suwondo Nainggolan said five members of the syndicate had been arrested in separate locations, starting with the Oct. 4 arrest of Safrizal, alias Rizal, alias RZ, the owner of a drugstore on Jl. Walang Timur in Koja, North Jakarta.

"From the suspect RZ, we seized 3 kilograms of crystal meth inside three packages of Chinese tea products branded Guanyingwang," Suwondo said in Jakarta, as quoted by kompas.com on Sunday.

From their investigation into RZ, the police obtained information that the crystal meth was sent from Pangandaran, West Java.

Two days later on Oct. 6, the police raided two locations in Pangandaran and arrested four people, with 17 kg of crystal meth seized as evidence.

Suwondo said 15 kg of the drug was hidden inside tea products, while the other 2 kg were packed in 33 small plastic containers.

The concealed drugs were kept in a house in Sindangasih village of Banjarsari district, Pangandaran.

"The drugs were ready to be distributed," Suwondo noted.

He added that during the arrests, police also confiscated three cars suspected of being purchased using money made from drug trafficking.