Customs and excise officers have foiled an attempt to smuggle 1.08 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, worth Rp 1.6 billion (S$224,000), at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, with two Nigerians arrested as suspects.
Airport customs office chief, Oza Olivia, said that one of the suspects, identified as USO, 28, was apprehended upon his arrival at the airport's Terminal II D on Tuesday afternoon, while the other one, K. Sendik, 26, was arrested in Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta, later in the day.
"Customs' tactical unit (CTU) personnel suspected one of the Nigerians of carrying drugs when conducting a profile analysis of passengers on Qatar Airways flight number QR-672, who arrived at the airport from Doha [Qatar]," Oza told a press conference at her office on Wednesday.
She said officers, whose suspicions had been aroused, examined two pieces of luggage carried by USO and found the crystal meth hidden in the holders and frames of the suitcases.
"This is a new method of smuggling drugs, and it took a long time for officers to locate the crystal meth inside the luggage," she said.
She added that a laboratory test at customs' examination center and goods identification unit in Cempaka Putih, Central Jakarta, confirmed that the drugs were crystal methamphetamine.
In collaboration with National Narcotics Agency (BNN) agents, the CTU team then continued their investigation by delivering the luggage to find out who the receiver was. It led them to Tanah Abang, where they arrested Sendik.
Both the suspects and the evidence are now in the custody of the BNN for questioning.
R. Amri from the BNN said at the press conference that the seizure of the drugs could save at least 7,500 people from the dangers of drug abuse.
The Customs' office has foiled 21 drug-smuggling attempts through Soekarno-Hatta airport since January, seizing close to 9 kilograms of drugs worth Rp 19.4 billions (US$2.06 million).
The confiscated drugs comprised 5,329 grams of crystal meth (12 cases); 536 grams of Levometorfan; 1,923.5 grams of cocaine (three cases); 56 grams of marijuana; 1,040 grams of heroin (one case); and 341 ecstasy pills.
Associated with these cases, officers have arrested 23 Indonesians, two Nigerians, one Malaysian, one Brazilian, one Dutch, one Sierra Leonean and one Chinese as suspects.
Drug smuggling crimes violate the 2009 Law on Narcotics and, if found guilty, violators could face the death penalty.