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Indonesia a growing market for meth: UN report

Publication Date : 21-05-2014


Robust economies and strong demand for drugs in Asia drove up global production of methamphetamine to record levels last year, with Indonesia now becoming a growing market for the drug, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) revealed on Tuesday.

According to the UNODC report, Asia is the world’s largest market for the synthetic stimulant, with seizures of methamphetamine pills and crystal meth tripling in the past five years to at least 36 metric tons in 2012.

China recorded the most methamphetamine seizures with 16 metric tons in 2012, representing nearly half of Asia’s total seizure.

Tailing behind China is Thailand, which recorded 2 tons of seized methamphetamine in 2008 but more than 10 tons in 2012. Indonesia comes in third place with more than 2.1 tons, triple the 700 kg seized in 2008. Myanmar has also recorded a jump in methamphetamine seizures from 100 kg to 2 tons.

A decrease in methamphetamine seizures only occurred in Malaysia, from 1.1 tons in 2008 to 900 kg in 2012. The UNODC report found that methamphetamine continues to be manufactured in Indonesia, but fewer laboratories have been detected in recent years.

“Therefore, the increase in methamphetamine seizures in Indonesia might not necessarily be due to a growing domestic market for the drug and could instead point to a rise in methamphetamine trafficking,” the report says.

The surging demand in Asia for new psychoactive substances is being met by large production bases in China, Myanmar and the Philippines. Organised criminal gangs also attempted to tap into the Asian markets by trafficking methamphetamine from Mexico, the Middle East, South and West Asia, and West Africa, the report says.

“West Africa is becoming a source for methamphetamine trafficked to Europe and East and Southeast Asia. Turkey is also emerging as a transit point for methamphetamine smuggled from West Asia to East and Southeast Asia,” the chief of the UNODC laboratory and scientific section, Justice Tettey, said during the report launch in Tokyo, as quoted on the UNODC website.

Throughout this year, Indonesia’s National Narcotics Agency (BNN) has uncovered scores of drug syndicates with links to major drug smugglers from China, Iran and Africa.

BNN eradication deputy Brigadier General Deddy Fauzi Elhakim said that the syndicates utilised porous borders, particularly in Kalimantan, to smuggle drugs into the country.

Among the seized drugs was top-quality crystal meth from a major drugs laboratory in Guangzhou, China. It is suspected that some of the crystal meth was intended to be smuggled to Australia and New Zealand.

In recent days, the National Police have been in the spotlight over the involvement of four police officers in a fatal drug overdose.

On Friday, a junior police officer, identified only as Second Brigadier JVG, 22, died following an overdose while hanging out with fellow officers at the Stadium nightclub in West Jakarta on Friday.

A preliminary investigation by the police concluded that JVG and his three friends — identified only as M, M and H — had consumed amphetamine-type drugs at the club.

National Police spokesman Brigadier General Boy Rafli Amar said he deplored the incident and pledged that the force would impose strict sanctions on the three officers.

“We will process the case by holding disciplinary hearings into the officers. The ethics committee will decide whether they will be dismissed from the force,” he said at his office in Jakarta on Tuesday.

Boy also called on the Jakarta administration to revoke the operating permit of entertainment spots with rampant illegal drug trading.

“The entertainment spot operators have the responsibility to prevent the distribution of illegal drugs among their customers, as the provincial administration will evaluate the operating permits of those that are proven to be drugs-distribution spots,” he said.


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