Ambon, Maluku Police investigators in Maluku Province are coordinating with their counterparts from the West Papua Police to investigate a case of arms trafficking after a suspect was recently apprehended in Teluk Bintuni District.
“The suspect, currently detained by the Teluk Bintuni police, confessed that he had purchased the weapons and ammunition from Ambon,” Maluku Police spokesperson Sen. Coms. M. Soem Ohoirat stated in Ambon, the capital of Maluku Province, on Sunday.
According to local media outlets, the suspect, identified by the initials as WT, 34, was arrested in Teluk Bintuni District, West Papua Province, on February 10, 2021, along with a revolver, an assault rifle, 607 bullets, and a magazine.
Ohoirat noted that the Maluku police investigators continue to handle the case and have arrested several people in Ambon, while abstaining from divulging the identities of the detainees.
In November 2020, the West Papua police had foiled an attempt by an underground arms syndicate to trade weapons and ammunition smuggled from the Philippines and arrested three people, including a housewife, over their involvement in the case.
The suspects, identified by their initials as SM, SK, and RB, smuggled six guns, three magazines, and 43 bullets into West Papua through Manado in North Sulawesi and Sorong in West Papua.
West Papua Police Chief Insp. Gen. Tornagogo Sihombing noted that while two of the suspects were the residents of West Papua, one had resided in North Sulawesi.
The trans-border crime was uncovered by a special team of investigators from the West Papua Police’s General Criminal Investigation Directorate, Sihombing told journalists in November last year.
A housewife from North Sulawesi was among the suspects apprehended during the operation conducted since November 3, 2020, he remarked, adding that some illegal weapons may have been smuggled into Papua Province.
“RB has built an arms trafficking network in the Philippines. The illegal weapons are smuggled by sea into Manado, North Sulawesi. From the city, they are then transported to Sorong, Manokwari (West Papua), and Nabire (Papua),” he informed.
Sihombing remarked that the arms trafficking case was not the first for West Papua since a similar case had been handled in the past, and those responsible for the crime were brought to justice.
“We have repeatedly handled arms trafficking cases. However, the latest case is not related to home-made weapons but manufactured ones. We are striving to uncover other suspects belonging to RB’s networks,” he remarked.
Source: Antara News