JAKARTA – Indonesian police believe they have crippled an international syndicate that uses mineral water bottles to smuggle in drugs into the republic.
The modus operandi of the syndicate was uncovered by authorities following the arrest of five members of the syndicate including a Malaysian woman at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on Oct 13 and oct 14.
Online media quoted Soekarno-Hatta International Airport deputy police chief Risnanto as saying that a Malaysian woman had been detained by Customs authorities on Oct 13 after she was observed to be acting in a suspicious manner.
He said an inspection on the woman’s baggage found two bottles of mineral water packed neatly in a box. A test on the mineral water revealed that it contained 3.160kg of liquid methamphetamine.
The next day after the arrest of the Malaysian woman, police and Customs detained two Indonesian women who had just landed at the same airport from Hongkong and seized 12 mineral bottles that were neatly packed in a box.
A test on the water in the 12 bottles found that it contained 18.9kg of liquid methamphetamine.
Each bottle could fill 1.5 litres of mineral water and if the liquid methamphetamine in all 14 bottles is heated, it can produce syabu powder weighing 22kg, according to Risnanto.
He said the two other syndicate members who police subsequently detained were a Pakistani and an Indonesian who acted as receiver and handler respectively, at the airport.
All five have been remanded pending prosecution under Indonesia’s drug law which carries the death sentence.
On Friday, two Malaysians – a university student and a sports official were detained at Ngurah Rai Airport in Bali after being found with 100 pills of synthetic drug and more than 70g of cannabis.
The Indonesian government is going all out to combat the drug menace after President Joko Widodo declared the republic as in state of emergency against drugs.