The Jakarta Police’s anti-narcotics directorate uncovered a drug ring operating out of Cipinang Penitentiary on Saturday.
During a raid of the inmates’ cells, the unit seized 42 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, known locally as shabu-shabu, that had a street value of Rp 84 billion ($8.9 million).
Sr. Comr. Nugroho Aji, the police’s anti-narcotics director, said a warden was also arrested for his alleged involvement.
“There were two discoveries. The first was the 42 kilograms we found at Cipinang prison. The suspects’ initials are W.W. and A.N.
Secondly, we also arrested a prison guard with the initials M.Y. From his hands, we seized 2 ounces of shabu-shabu which was to be circulated on the inside. The goods belonged to A.Y., an inmate, and are worth about Rp 400 million,” Nugroho said.
He added that the police had long suspected the existence of a drug ring inside the prison.
“We suspected the existence of a network for some time, so we carried out an investigation, [leading to] the search and arrests. We searched the rooms, and, at the same time, arrested the warden at an eatery in the Cipinang area. He was still wearing his uniform,” Nugroho said.
He added that prison management was very cooperative in solving the case and that interagency cooperation would continue in the fight against drugs.
“In solving this case, we worked together with the prison. The head of the prison was very accommodating in allowing us to search the rooms. During our search, we seized 50 ounces of shabu-shabu and 12 mobile phones as evidence,” he said.
From the initial evidence, it appears that the drug ring had been operating for a long time behind bars.
“They have been doing it this for a long time, especially those on the inside,” Nugroho said. “We suspect that those in prison have been circulating drugs on the outside as well, even in the presence of a warden.”
He added that there were two main factors that allow for the presence of drugs in prison.
“How did these inmates manage a drug ring from inside the prison? The answer is simple: It’s because they still had mobile phones. If they have mobile phones, then of course they can communicate with one another,” Nugroho said.
“Aside from that, the mentality of the wardens must be improved. The head of the Cipinang prison I think is very good and has a strong commitment to combatting drugs. It is only the attitude of his staff that is not good.”
Nugroho said that the police would continue to combat drugs in prisons.
“We will continue to coordinate with the prison to stop the circulation of drugs. We will not stop. Whoever is involved, we will find them,” he said.