Military Intel Officer Identified As Member of Ecstasy Syndicate
The Indonesian Armed Forces commander has denied any institutional involvement in a huge drug-smuggling ring uncovered by anti-narcotics officers after one of those arrested was identified as a sergeant major with the force’s intelligence unit.
Adm. Agus Suhartono, the chief of the military, or TNI, said on Tuesday that he regretted the officer, identified only as S., was involved in bringing 1.4 million ecstasy pills into the country from China.
“We will act accordingly against servicemen who violate the law and we will certainly punish them in accordance with our internal rules,” he said.
He insisted that no other officers were involved in the smuggling attempt.
S. was arrested on Monday when the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) seized a container shipped from Shenzhen carrying the pills, with an estimated street value of Rp 353 billion ($37.7 million).
The container arrived in Indonesia on May 8 and was received by S., who claimed to represent a military cooperative that he said had ordered goods from China.
Comr. Gen. Gories Mere, the BNN chief, said the bust was the biggest of its kind in Indonesia in the past 10 years.
“We got almost 1.5 million pills. There are several suspects, but some managed to evade arrest,” he said on Monday.
He added that the foiled smuggling attempt had been carried out by a China-Indonesia drug syndicate.
Gories said that the narcotics bust was the result of close cooperation with various institutions, including those in other countries such as China and Hong Kong.
Benny Mamoto, the BNN head of operations, said his office had acted on a tip-off regarding the delivery of the ecstasy pills.
“The container was headed to Cengkareng to a shop-house,” he said.
BNN officers arrested eight people in the operation.
Benny said the pills were packed inside 12 boxes hidden in the bottom of the container and that the smugglers intended to distribute them to hundreds of dealers who would then sell them in Jakarta, Bandung, Semarang, Surabaya, Bali, Medan, Makassar and other large cities.
He said S. used several forged customs documents to take delivery of the container on the pretext that it was ordered by the military cooperative.
“We checked, but the order was not in the cooperatives’ list. He forged the documents, the signature of the cooperative chief and used the cooperative’s name to smooth the way,” Benny said.