TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Central Sulawesi police arrested two suspected drug dealers on Friday (Sept 4), and confiscated 891.35 grams of crystal meth from them, a police spokesman said.
The suspects, only identified by their initials MP, 27, and H, 25, packed the illicit drug into18 small plastic bags, Central Sulawesi Police Spokesman Sen.Coms. Didik Supranoto told local journalists in Palu, the capital of Central Sulawesi Province, on Saturday.
They were apprehended in a drug raid operation conducted on Friday after the local police received a tip-off about suspicious activities of drug abuse in a rented house located at Asam III Street, he said.
The drug raid operation resulted in the seizure of 18 small plastic bags of crystal meth, a scale, four cellular phones, a wafer can, and a spoon, he said, adding that the suspects remain under the police custody for the purposes of investigation.
Many drug cases that the Indonesian police have uncovered amid the COVID-19 pandemic are proof that the government is now simultaneously challenged by two deadly threats: drugs and disease.
This week, two suspected drug dealers were shot dead after they assaulted Surabaya city police officers while trying to resist arrest during a drug raid. Meanwhile, six other suspects were apprehended in the raid.
During the raid, 17.05 kg of crystal methamphetamine was also seized from the suspects, Surabaya City Police Chief, Sen.Coms. Jhonny Edison Isir, said on Sept 3.
According to a recent research report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the supply chains of drug markets could be disrupted by the mobility restrictions, closed borders, and a decline in overall world trade.
Prepared by the UNODC Global Research Network, the report reveals that on account of the coronavirus pandemic, the trafficking of heroin from Mexico to the United States of America, for instance, has been more difficult this time than before.
However, the COVID-19 crisis may also "diversify drug trafficking patterns and routes", according to the UNODC research report titled 'COVID-19 and the Drug Supply Chain: From Production and Trafficking to Use'.
The report, published on the UNODC website (https://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/covid/Covid-19-and-drug-supply-chain-Mai2020.pdf), also warns that the COVID-19 crisis could push more people into illicit drug-linked activities to make a living.
The severe economic impact of the coronavirus crisis has triggered layoffs in many countries, including Indonesia, and several jobless people may get involved in illicit activities, such as production and transportation of drugs for economic reasons, according to the report.
They are also vulnerable to be recruited by local and transnational drug rings (UNODC's research report, 2020).
The UNODC's research finding has been confirmed by several drug cases that the Indonesian police have uncovered during the COVID-19 crisis.