East Aceh authorities redouble efforts to curb growing drug problem

Over the past two years, East Aceh district of Aceh province has been battling a growing problem of drug trafficking, which is evident from the frequent raids conducted by law enforcement agencies in the area.

Geographically, East Aceh, whose administrative area extends over 6,040 square kilometers, shares a sea border with the Strait of Malacca.

Due to this geographical proximity to an important shipping lane, located between the Indonesian island of Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula of East Aceh, the district remains vulnerable to drug smuggling, with cross-border drug rings often involving local residents in their operations.

ANTARA has reported about frequent attempts being made to smuggle crystal methamphetamine into Aceh from Malaysia for trade inside and outside the province in recent years.

Last year, Aceh police launched two drug operations in East Aceh, which led to the seizure of 141 kg of crystal meth and the arrest of 15 suspects.

Despite the ongoing global pandemic, which has forced many countries to impose travel and cross-border restrictions, drug-trafficking operations seem to have continued unabated in the district.

On April 7, 2021, Aceh police chief, Insp.Gen.Wahyu Widada, informed that a joint team of police, customs, and excise officers had foiled a trans-national drug ring’s attempt to smuggle 50 kg of crystal methamphetamine by boat into East Aceh district.

During the drug raid, law enforcement personnel arrested four persons and seized a 30-GT boat.

“The smuggling operation was conducted through the East Aceh waters. The boat carried two sacks containing 50 packs of crystal meth with a total weight of 50 kg,” Widada said.

The raid also resulted in the arrest of four suspects, identified by their initials as ZK, KR, ZR, and ZK.

They were picked up from different places around East Aceh district, Widada said, adding that they had been assigned different tasks in the drug-trafficking operation.

ZK was nabbed in Bagok neighborhood, KR was arrested in Idi Tunong neighborhood, while ZK and ZR were apprehended in Idi Rayeuk neighborhood, he informed.

ZK, KR, and ZR were tasked with monitoring the situation on land and roads, while ZK was the boat’s skipper and responsible for transporting the illicit drug package, he said.

On April 17, 2021, a joint team from the Customs and Excise Office and the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) caught four persons smuggling 80 kilograms of drugs, brought in from Thailand, into the district.

The coordinated drug raid resulted in the arrest of four suspects, identified by their initials as A, K, P, and M, according to head of the Customs and Excise Directorate General-Aceh Office, Safuadi.

The suspects were nabbed while they were trying to smuggle crystal methamphetamine obtained from Thailand aboard a boat, he said in a recent press statement.

The raid, which involved the customs and excise authorities of the provinces of Aceh, North Sumatra, and Riau Islands, was conducted after the BNN received a tip about drug traffickers planning to smuggle a crystal meth package into the country from Thailand.

Acting on the tip, the BNN and Customs and Excise Directorate formed a land-based and sea-based team. A Customs and Excise patrol ship, BC30001, was deployed by the sea-based team to keep a close watch on the smugglers, according to Safuadi.

At 5:30 a.m. local time on April 17, 2021, the patrol vessel’s radar spotted a boat headed towards the coast of Idi Rayeuk town in East Aceh district, he stated.

The Customs and Excise patrol ship chased and intercepted the boat and ultimately managed to retrieve two rice sacks containing crystal meth and mobile phones that the smugglers had tossed into the sea, he revealed.

“The BNN has transported all suspects along with the evidence of their drug crime. This drug raid operation has proven the government’s seriousness in protecting its citizens from getting trapped in a vicious cycle of drug addiction,” Safuadi noted.

To address this constant threat from drug lords, the East Aceh police have stepped up efforts to monitor several piers and covert routes in the district’s coastal areas to thwart smuggling of drugs.

The targeted piers and covert routes, which have been placed under stringent surveillance, are located in several sub-districts, East Aceh police chief, Adjunct Sen. Coms. Eko Widiantoro, stated.

The sub-districts are Madat, Simpang Ulim, Julok, Nurussalam Darul Aman, Idi Rayeuk, Peudawa, Alue Bu, Peureulak, and Kuala Parek, Widiantoro disclosed on Monday.

“I have ordered my men to intensify their sea patrols during the day and night,” he informed, adding that police officers are working with local army personnel and residents in the war against drugs.

In addition to clamping down on drug smuggling operations, strict surveillance in the targeted coastal areas is also aimed at preventing the inflow of illegal immigrants and contraband, he explained.

“Trans-national drug rings have frequently attempted to smuggle drug packages into East Aceh district by sea,” he noted.

Therefore, Widiantoro said, he had appealed to local fishermen to assist police officers by providing information if they spot any suspicious boats or vessels.

Active participation from the fishermen and other elements of the society in helping the police, BNN, and other related law enforcement agencies crack down on drug rings is vital for freeing East Aceh from its drug problem, he added. (INE)


Source: Antara News

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