Police Bust Prisoner-Run Drug Ring
Officials adopting an unusual approach to destroying ecstasy during a recent news conference in the capital. Jakarta Police on Friday launched a major drugs bust resulting in the closure of an ecstasy factory. (Antara Photo/Fanny Octavianus)
In yet another major blow to the credibility of the country’s prison system, Jakarta Police have uncovered two prisoners operating a major ecstasy supply ring.
The two prisoners at Salemba Penitentiary in Central Jakarta are alleged to have purchased the drugs through a courier identified only as A, who operated around the prison, the head of the West Jakarta Police’s narcotics unit, Comr. Kristian Siagian, told the Jakarta Globe on Friday.
“We’re still trying to catch him,” said Kristian, referring to A. He added that the courier had been ordered by the prisoners to purchase the drugs from a drug lab raided by police on Thursday.
He said the Salemba dealers then ordered the courier to sell the drugs elsewhere.
The raid on the ecstasy lab in an upscale residential complex in East Pluit, North Jakarta, netted thousands of pills and four suspects.
“They were churning out 1,000 pills a day, generating Rp 6 billion [$666,000] a month,” Kristian said.
The suspects arrested in the raid on Thursday were identified as Pintarjo, alias Kiky; Yudin, alias Wantek; Nadan, alias Emma; and Andi, alias Firdaus.
From the scene, police confiscated 46,000 ecstasy pills, 17 kilograms of ketamine and raw ingredients used to produce drugs.
Kristian said the ecstasy produced at the house was of high quality and highly dangerous because the suspects mixed the raw ingredients with crystal methamphetamine.
“That makes it more dangerous,” he said.
He added that police had been investigating the lab for the past month, following a tip that Pintarjo frequently sold ecstasy in Jakarta and other cities. He said the house had been rented and the lab had been in operation for three months.
There have been a string of recent cases involving crimes being committed from behind the bars of the nation’s poorly monitored prisons, often with the use of cellphones.
A spokesman for the National Narcotics Agency (BNN), Sumirat Dwiyanto, told the Globe it was difficult to control the illicit drug trade inside prisons.
“As long as the demand remains high, the supply of illegal drugs will never dry up,” he said.
“People will try all sorts of ways to smuggle drugs.”
He said BNN was working with penitentiaries to curb the flow of illicit drugs.
“We’ve installed radio-frequency scanners and a device to scramble communications inside prisons,” Sumirat said, adding the Cipinang and Medan penitentiaries were among those equipped with the new technology.
April 16, 2010
Zaky Pawas & Nurfika Osman