JAKARTA, Indonesia ( Associated Press) – Sailors deployed for a safe voyage during the Eid-ul-Fitr holiday made Indonesia’s biggest cocaine seizure after they found plastic packages of drugs floating in the sea, the Navy said.
Indonesia is a major center of drug trafficking in Southeast Asia and has strict drug laws, with convicted smugglers sometimes executed by firing squad.
Four black packages containing 179 kilograms (about 400 pounds) of cocaine worth 1.2 trillion rupees ($82.6 million) were found floating near Marak port on the island of Java on Sunday, the Navy’s deputy chief of staff said at a news conference on Monday. .
Vice Admiral Ahmadi Heri Purwono said smuggling of drugs by throwing packages and buoys is a common strategy. He said the smugglers had watered the drugs near a port to be carried by speedboat and were monitoring the packages when they were confiscated by the Navy.
“This is a spectacular seizure of cocaine, given its enormous value and the effect on people as a result of the illicit drug,” Purwono said. He said no one has been arrested and officials are still investigating.
The officers who saw the package were among the 5,000 naval personnel deployed for the return home of Eid-ul-Fitr. Millions of Indonesians celebrate the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan by traveling to see their families across the vast archipelago.
The United Nations Drug Office says Indonesia is a major center of trafficking in part because international drug syndicates target its young population. Indonesia’s National Narcotics Agency estimates that there are 5.6 million drug users in a country of 270 million people.
Most of the more than 150 people sentenced to death in Indonesia were convicted of drug offences. About a third of these are foreigners. Its last execution was in 2016, when an Indonesian and three foreigners were shot by a firing squad.