The National Police's Narcotics Directorate recently nabbed 11 members of an international drug ring operating in Jakarta, confiscating a total of 8.1 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine.
Narcotics Directorate head Chief Brig. Gen. Anjan Pramuka Putra said Friday the syndicate was controlled from China and operated its business in Jakarta before distributing drugs to other big cities throughout the country.
"They distributed the drugs to Jakarta because they saw a higher demand here where people were willing to pay a lot more compared to the Chinese market," Anjan told reporters at the directorate's office in Cawang, East Jakarta.
According to him, 1 kilogram of methamphetamine was sold for Rp 300 million (S$31,743) per kilogram in China, while in Indonesia, drug dealers can make Rp 1 billion to Rp 1.5 billion for the same amount.
National Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said the series of raids started on Jan. 8 when the police caught Heriyanto, Stevy Harto and Enos Simbolon at a hotel in Medan, South Sumatra, with 2.2 kilograms of methamphetamine from China.
"After that, we developed the case and arrested other members of the drug syndicate in Jakarta," Rikwanto told reporters.
On Jan. 12, the police arrested a Nigerian citizen identified as Chukwudubem Shedrack Nwabueze at an apartment in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta, which led to the arrest of Sandia Purwani and Nilo Purwani four days later in Bekasi, West Java.
During the raid in Bekasi, the police confiscated 2.1 kilograms of methamphetamine hidden inside 14 printer ink cartridges from China.
Still in January, the police also arrested Edward Mawardi, Bernard Sandehang, Fadlan, Al Rohaeti and Chinese citizen Ong Liong Cuan from the syndicate and confiscated three firearms and two mini diesel machines.
"The syndicate used a new method by hiding their drugs inside ink cartridges and mini diesel machines before they delivered them here," Rikwanto said.
Anjan said the eleven suspects from the Chinese syndicate would face multiple charges, including Article 114 clause 2 of Law No. 35/2009 on narcotics, which carries the death penalty as a maximum sentence.
"I hope the court will sentence all of them to death, or at least they should get life sentences," Anjan said.
He added that with the arrest, the National Police had stopped another drug syndicate from distributing drugs from Jakarta to other cities, such as Surabaya in East Java, and Bali.
He also claimed that the drug bust saved around 8,100 people in the country from drug addiction.Rikwanto said the lavish nightlife in Jakarta had made the capital a lucrative destination for drug-trafficking syndicates.
The Indonesian judicial system is currently under the international spotlight ahead of the execution of Andrew Chan, 31, and Myuran Sukumaran, 33, two Australians known as ringleaders of the so-called Bali Nine drug-smuggling ring.
Both are scheduled to face a firing squad for trying to smuggle about 8 kilograms of heroin from Bali to Australia in 2005.
International drug ring cases in Greater Jakarta:
Aug. 14, 2013: Soekarno-Hatta International Airport's customs and excise officers confiscate 9.9 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, worth Rp 13.5 billion. The suspects comprise five Indonesians, three Malaysians, a Vietnamese and a Nigerian.
Nov. 22, 2014: The National Narcotics Agency (BNN) arrests three Chinese nationals in Pluit in Penjaringan, North Jakarta, for possessing and storing a total of 157 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine from China.