|President Joko Widodo claims Indonesia is in the grip of a “drug emergency,”|
and that the death sentence serves as a deterrent against would-be drug offenders.
Jakarta. The Indonesian prison guard arrested with more than 16 kilograms of methamphetamine and several hundred ecstasy pills on Friday claims he was collecting evidence seized from inmates.
Dedy Romadi, from Bandung’s Banceuy Penitentiary, which houses drug offenders, told reporters at the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) headquarters in Jakarta late on Friday that the drugs were not his, following his arrest at the Atrium shopping mall in Central Jakarta while allegedly carrying out a drug transaction.
BNN officers caught Dedy and an Iranian national, Majid Jahangirzadeh, at the mall with nearly a kilogram of meth. The suspects then led them to a larger stash, totaling 16.3 kilograms of meth as well as 778 ecstasy pills.
Dedy, who faces the death penalty if charged and convicted of drug trafficking, denied that the drugs were his or that he worked as a courier for an international syndicate. Instead, he claimed to be going above and beyond his duties as a prison guard to crack down on drug dealing taking place inside the prison.
“I was aware that there was a lot of dealing going on at Banceuy, so I was collecting the evidence to reveal it all. I’m sure the other guards know about it too,” he said.
Dedi Fauzi Elhakim, the BNN’s deputy for eradication, rubbished the suspect’s version of events, saying Dedy had long been taking drugs from outside and dealing to the prison population.
He said Dedy first got involved in the drug trade in 2013, when a BNN detainee, Agung Adiyaksa, was remanded at Banceuy pending trial. Dedy and Agung got acquainted, and when Agung was transferred to Karawang Penitentiary in neighboring Karawang district, they remained in touch, Dedi said.
In their most recent communication, the BNN official said, Dedy and Agung arranged for the guard to get in touch with Jahangirzadeh to obtain meth for distribution at the Karawang prison.
The bust comes just over a week since the arrest of a guard from the prison island of Nusakambangan off Central Java, the site of 13 of the 14 executions carried out so far this year – all involving drug convicts.
In that arrest, officers caught Bayu Anggit Permana, a guard from the island’s Batu Penitentiary, with 364 grams of meth. A prisoner at the island, one of several on Nusakambangan, later admitted to paying Bayu to smuggle the drugs out of the prison.
Police have charge Bayu and Abdul with drug dealing – not trafficking – which carries a sentence of 12 to 20 years.
Drug seizures are common at prisons on Nusakambangan, where officials have a history of being complicit in allowing prisoners to set up meth labs.
The island was also the location for the executions on April 29 of eight convicted drug offenders, seven of them foreign nationals, including Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.
In going against international condemnation of the executions, President Joko Widodo claimed Indonesia was in the grip of a “drug emergency,” and that the death sentence served as a deterrent against would-be drug offenders.
The arrests of Bayu and now Dedy – and countless other offenders in between – would seem to suggest otherwise.
Source: The Jakarta Globe, May 23, 2015
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