Kerobokan Pot Bust Opens Investigation On Prison Drug Ring
Made Arya Kencana, Tunggadewa Mattangkilang & Zaky Pawas
Denpasar. The Kerobokan prison in Bali confiscated 1.4 kilograms of marijuana in a raid on Friday, adding to a long list of cases where drugs have been distributed behind prison walls.
Three inmates were detained for drug possession after the marijuana was found in a block inside the prison, chief warden Gusti Ngurah Wiratna said.
He added that illegal drugs were rampant among inmates, who have occasionally been sent to the hospital after being found with symptoms of drug withdrawal.
Kerobokan has 824 inmates, the warden said, with 52 percent of them convicted for drug dealing or trafficking. Many have channels to acquire drugs from outside the prison, he added.
The three inmates caught in the raid, identified as Riyanto, Cahaya Putra and Abdul Kodir, have been charged by investigators, according to the district police chief.
Investigators are trying to determine how the drugs got past prison security, “including who supplied it,” Badung Police Chief Adj. Comr. Ketut Suparta said.
Kerobokan has encouraged the police to examine the possible involvement of prison officials in the drug ring.
“I hope [prison officials] are not involved,” Wiratna said. “But if they are, the police are welcome to arrest them. This will only improve conditions of the prison.”
The raid came three days after police officers in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, arrested a convicted drug trafficker found with a kilogram of crystal methamphetamine stashed inside his cell. The drugs were worth Rp 3 billion ($321,000).
That inmate, identified only as A.M., reportedly operated a trafficking ring inside Balikpapan penitentiary and on the streets of the city. He is serving a 12-year sentence for drug dealing and could face the death penalty if convicted in the latest case, which would be his third offense.
Farid Wadjdy, the deputy governor of East Kalimantan, said on Friday that his administration was committed to curbing drug use and trafficking, with a goal of a drug-free province by 2015.
“All levels of society, be it religious clerics, teachers or the police, must get together to wage war against the spread and abuse of narcotics,” he said. Farid cited the example of Kutai Timur district, which has earmarked Rp 3 billion this year for antidrug programs and rehabilitation.
Edo Agustian, coordinator of the Brotherhood for Indonesian Drug Victims (PKNI), said rampant drug dealing had highlighted a need to treat users with rehabilitation rather than jail.
One in five drug inmates start using injected drugs for the first time in prison, he said, citing a fact sheet compiled last year by the Justice and Human Rights Ministry, the Health Ministry, the US Agency for International Development and the World Bank. According to the fact sheet, 92.5 percent of injection drug users continued their habits in prison.
Gories Mere, head of the National Narcotics Agency (BNN), said recently that Indonesia’s illicit drug trade has reached staggering levels, with the latest measurements putting the industry’s annual value at Rp 42.8 trillion.
There are 3.8 million to 4.2 million illicit drug users in the country, Gories said, and 22 percent of them are students and young adults between the ages of 20 and 29.
Brig Gen. Arman Depari, the narcotics director for the National Police, said the police were investigating 30,000 drug-related cases across the country and have arrested 32,000 suspects.
“Out of the 32,000 suspects, almost all of them are young,” the one-star general said on Friday.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime recently recorded a tripling of amphetamine-smuggling cases and a doubling of marijuana- and heroin-smuggling cases in Indonesia in 2011 from 2010.
One of the biggest drug raids in recent years came this month with the discovery of a container filled with 351 kilograms of methamphetamine, with an estimated street value of Rp 702 billion. The police raided the container as soon as it left North Jakarta’s Tanjung Priok Port.