Indonesia: Record crystal meth bust

Indonesia: Record crystal meth bust

Indonesia seized a record 1.6 metric tons of crystal methamphetamine from a ship off the northern island of Batam in February 2018, a narcotics official said. It was the second major drug bust that month.

President Joko Widodo’s government has cracked down on trafficking to contain soaring consumption of crystal meth and other narcotics. Indonesia has among the world’s strictest anti-narcotics laws, and drug trafficking is punishable by death.

“It’s an estimated 1.6 tons, and yes, this is a record seizure for us,” said a spokesman for the national narcotics agency, known as Sulistiandriatmoko, adding that details of its origin and destination were still under investigation.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that Southeast Asia’s trade in methamphetamines and heroin was worth U.S. $31 billion in 2013.

Earlier in February 2018, Indonesian authorities confiscated just over 1 ton of crystal meth, known locally as shabu-shabu, also in Batam, a small industrial hub a short ferry ride from Singapore.

Budi Waseso, head of the anti-narcotics agency, said authorities had acted on a tip from Chinese and Thai authorities and that the shipment had come from Burma in a vessel disguised as a fishing boat.

“It had been to Australia … and in and out of Indonesian waters several times. This means this ship had repeatedly entered Indonesia carrying large quantities of narcotics,” Waseso said.  Reuters