Banten coastline prone to drug smuggling

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - In spite of the heavy penalty imposed by the government of Indonesia, notably capital punishment to fight drug offenses, the coastline of Banten province remains prone to international drug smuggling into the island of Java.

Drug smuggling has become a big business, bringing in all the profits from organized crimes, because of the weak security of marine patrol officers along the coast of Banten.

The use of drugs and its smuggling are constantly changing, and the ways in which they are trafficked are growing in technical and organizational complexity, which endanger businesses, strain government institutions, and drag down the wider economy.

The head of Rehabilitation Agency of National Narcotics Agency (BNN) of Banten Province, Adjunct Senior Commissioner Agus Mulyana, remarked in Lebak that the organized crime groups involved are becoming more specialized and fully interconnected.

Hence, Mulyana revealed that the beaches of Tangerang, Anyer, Labuan, Ujungkulon, Binuangeun, and Bayah along the coastline of Banten are still prone to international drug smuggling.

According to him, the international drug dealers take advantage of the coastal route of Banten because security there is not so tight compared to that of Soekarno-Hatta Airport.

Even though the security at Soekarno-Hatta in Banten province is tighter, the airport is still the main gateway to smuggle drugs into Indonesia.

Numerous attempts to smuggle drugs through Soekarno-Hatta have been foiled, and most of drug couriers arrested at the airport concealed the drugs inside their clothes.

The drugs had been smuggled into Indonesia were mostly from Malaysia, and the rest came from Taiwan, Singapore, Iran, and Nigeria.

In its bid to prevent smuggling of drugs, BNN Banten continues to familiarize the local fishermen with knowledge on international drug smuggling through the coastline of the province.

The socialization is aimed at raising awareness of the local fishermen against foreigners who offer to carry their goods with a hue wages.

If the fishermen are suspicious of foreign citizens, then they should immediately report it to the nearest officer.

"We urge the fishermen to not be easily tempted if foreigners send services to transport goods they do not yet know," Mulyana explained.

The circulation of drugs in the province of Banten year to year increases because of its strategic location with wide and long coastal beaches.

Currently, Banten Province is categorized as a drug-prone area, with the rank of 14 in the national level.

In July this year, police foiled a smuggling attempt of 1 ton of drugs, the largest-ever haul in Indonesia.

During the operation launched on tip-off, police killed a Taiwan man, identified as the kingpin of the drug ring, after he refused to surrender.

That was the biggest haul so far as it totally weighed one ton. It was conducted by an international drug ring through the sea.

The smuggling was conducted by the drug ring through Anyer beach in Banten provinces capital of Serang, some 130 kilometers west of the capital Jakarta.

Police confiscated crystal methamphetamine drugs in the operation, making it the largest haul ever experienced by Indonesian authorities.

The contraband was taken from an abandoned hotel building in Serang, packed in 51 boxes.

Police stated that the drugs, worth Rp1.5 trillion rupiah (about US$112.3 million), were to be distributed in Jakarta.

The latest raid broke the record of their largest drug seizure in 2015, when they foiled an attempt to smuggle crystal meth, weighing 800 kilograms, in West Jakarta.

Indonesia has declared a war against drug abuse as it has become a serious issue, with millions of people having already been affected across the country.

Banten Police Public Relation Head Adjunct Police Commissioner Zaenuddin also remarked that in Serang last July, the coastal areas of the Sunda Strait in the north and south are prone to be used by local and international drug traffickers to smuggle drugs.

According to him, the waters of the Sunda Strait is very strategic as a liaison area from Sumatra Island to Java to smuggle illicit goods.

The waters of the northern Sunda Strait include the coast of Pulomerak Beach, Ciwandan, Anyer, and Carita.

In addition, the waters of the southern Sunda Strait start from Panimbang Beach, Tanjunglesung, Ujungkulon, Bayah to Pelabuhan Ratu.

During this time, the Sunda Strait waters facing the coast of Banten directly are prone to be used as drug smuggling routes.

Moreover, coastal safeguards at Banten Beach have not been so tight, including the lack of sophisticated technology equipment for the detection of drugs.

Therefore, the incident in which the international drug suppliers of Taiwanese were recently arrested by the Police and BNN in Anyer Beach area, in which one of them was killed, gives strong evidence that Banten is prone to being a drug smuggling route to enter Jakarta.

The failure to smuggle one ton of methamphetamines, locally known as shabu, serves as evidence of an international drug dealer network.

Police in 2016 had also foiled a drug smuggling attempt of shabu, weighing 54 kilograms, and 40.894 ecstasy pills in the Port of Merak.

The international drug suspects hid the illicit drugs inside spare tires.

In light of this, the security of Banten waters is expected to be tightened to avoid the area from becoming a drug trafficking path.

Source: ANTARA News

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