There are Still Networks Aside from Fredy Pratama
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The national police recently busted Fredy Pratama’s drug ring after 10 years of investigation. Since 2022, the police have so far arrested 923 suspects and seized 10.2 tons of crystal methamphetamine or sabu-sabu and 116,000 ecstasy pills, more than the amount seized from the network of Freddy Budiman, the drug lord executed in 2016 after being convicted for the import of 1.4 million ecstasy pills.
Fredy Pratama also known as Miming, The Secret, Cassanova, Airbag, and Mojopahit is currently suspected to be in Thailand. The National Police have issued a red notice to the Interpol for the search and arrest of Fredy who is dubbed Escobar of Indonesia. “He feels safer there, of course. We will be in hot pursuit if he’s here in Indonesia,” said the Chief of Police’s Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim), Comr. Gen. Wahyu Widada said during an interview with Tempo journalists at his office on Friday, September 22.
Through the interview, Wahyu was accompanied by Sr. Comr. Jayadi, Deputy Director for Narcotics Crimes. Wahyu explained how the Operation Escobar team began detecting the network, how the criminals used the same communication app, as well as how the drug packages were disguised to look like Chinese tea packages.
In the operation, the police also nabbed the Chief of the Lampung Police’s Narcotics Unit, Adj. Comr. Andri Bustami, who oversaw the sabu-sabu and ecstasy pills shipments from Sumatra to Java through the Bakauheni Port in Lampung.
How did the police first detect Fredy Pratama’s network?
Actually, this is a culmination of findings in several regional police departments such as in Lampung, South Kalimantan, Banten. and also from the Bareskrim. From there, we did analyses and found similarities. They all used BBM (BlackBerry Messenger). People usually use WhatsApp, Signal. All the goods seized also have the same Chinese tea packaging.
What’s so special about the Chinese tea packaging?
Those from the Golden Triangle area always use Chinese tea packaging to camouflage their goods. So, we analyzed all these and they finally led us to Fredy Pratama. We also revisited old police reports to see if they had any links to him. We traced all the way back to 2020 and found 408 reports between 2020 to 2023.
Why only from 2020?
There were already quite a lot (of cases). If our focus is on just one person, we can’t expand to the others. There are still networks aside from Fredy Pratama.
What is unique about Fredy’s network?
From what I’ve observed since I was a regional police chief, the trails always stopped at dealers, their links to the top somewhat broken but we could see a highly organized mechanism. Fredy Pratama is the mastermind. He has his own operations controller, Kif. Then there are individuals specifically responsible for creating fake identities, fake accounts, handling cash, withdrawing cash from ATMs (automatic teller machines), and coordinating assets. So, it’s indeed highly organized.
What distinguishes it from, for instance, Freddy Budiman’s network?
Freddy Budiman acted more as a primary controller and did not have specific people to make fake identity cards and so on. His has a network but not as organized as this.