MEDAN: The Medan City Police Narcotics Unit announced on Monday that it had successfully foiled an attempt by a syndicate to smuggle drugs worth up to Rp 42 billion (US$3.5 million) from Malaysia through Tanjung Balai Port in North Sumatra.
The Medan Police said they had detained four drug trafficking suspects, while the alleged owner of the contraband, a Malaysian named Amir, was still on the run.
The seized drugs, which consisted of 25 kilograms of crystal methamphetamines and 35,000 ecstasy pills, were to be sold in Medan, North Sumatra, and a number of other parts of Indonesia, including Surabaya in East Java and Kalimantan.
The four suspects have been identified as Hendra Gunawan, 32, of Tanjung Balai, Ramlan Siregar, 48, of Asahan, Rahmad Siregar, 31, of Deli Serdang and Amri Prayoga, 33, of Medan, all in North Sumatra.
North Sumatra Police chief Insp. Gen. Eko Hadi Sutedjo said the foiled drug trafficking attempt was the biggest bust this year. He added that police would extend their investigations and pursue the suspected mastermind in Malaysia.
“We will send a special team to Malaysia to further this drug smuggling case and arrest the owner of the drugs,” Eko told media at Medan City Police headquarters.
Eko said that police would work with their counterparts in Malaysia to track down the drug syndicate allegedly run by Amir. He added that this case would be the police’s priority.
“Based on information from the suspects, it seems that the drug syndicate run by Amir has repeatedly smuggled drugs into Medan and other cities in Indonesia. This must be stopped,” he said.
Medan City Police Narcotics Unit chief Comr. Dony Alexander said that the discovery of the drug syndicate resulted from the arrest of Hendra, who was in possession of 0.5 grams of crystal meth, on Sept.11.
During interrogation, Dony explained, Hendra admitted obtaining the drugs from Ramlan Siregar, a member of the Amir gang. Ramlan’s task was to pick up the drugs smuggled from Malaysia at Tanjung Balai port.
Police then arrested Ramlan on Jl. Simpang Kawat in Asahan regency on Sept. 12. Based on further developments, police subsequently arrested Rahmad and Amri Prayoga.
“Amri was assigned to supervise the drug smuggling process in Medan. He is in direct contact with Amir in Malaysia,” said Dony.
Amri said that he was introduced to Amir by Ramlan last year, subsequently joining the drug ring and becoming involved in the illicit business. He claimed to have smuggled drugs nine times from Malaysia to Medan over the past year. “This attempt was the 10th smuggling transaction. Everything went smoothly before,” Amri said during the press conference.
Dony said that police were working with the Malaysian Consulate in Medan to follow up the case.
“We will go to Malaysia in the near future to catch Amir, so as to uncover his drug ring in Indonesia,” said Dony.
International drug syndicates have tried a number of tricks to smuggle contraband into Medan, including the use of couriers with drugs concealed about them. - The Jakarta Post/ANN