Pamekasan, East Java. Ten inmates at the Pamekasan penitentiary for drug convicts in East Java have tested positive for methamphetamine use, local police announced on Friday night, after screening their urine.
A day earlier, police had broken up an apparent meth party in the prison’s pantry and seized 22 packages of the drug weighing a total of 15,9 grams, as well as two bongs, matches, a mobile phone and six SIM cards.
Officers said the drugs were smuggled into the prison inside peanut shells.
“These are old players — Hartono, Ismail, Junaidi, Tony and Tutuk — the five of them are from Surabaya, and then there’s Alan, Abd Lukman, Muhlisin, Sahad and Fathor, from Mojokerto and Sampang,” said First Insp. Ruslan Hidayat, a spokesman for the Pamekasan Police. “Some of them are serving sentences of four to five years, and there are also those who had just three months left to serve before they would be freed.”
It was immediately clear whether the inmates would now face additional charges.
Police said they were still looking for the person responsible for bringing the drugs inside the penitentiary, presumably a visitor. However, police stressed they would not hesitate to go after their own if an officer or a guard was found to be involved in the scheme.
President Joko Widodo has vowed to tackle what he has repeatedly described as a “drug emergency” in Indonesia, including by resuming the execution of drug convicts on death row. But authorities have also stepped up efforts to clean up the nation’s prison system.
Earlier this month, authorities arrested two prison guards in separate drug cases.
In the most recent case, the chief warden of Banceuy Penitentiary in Bandung confirmed that one of the prison’s guards, Dedy Romadi, was arrested in Jakarta with 16.3 kilograms of methamphetamine and 778 ecstasy pills.
Reports from the National Narcotics Agency (BNN), which carried out the arrest on May 22, suggested that Dedy was a known drug courier working for an Iranian dealer, who was also arrested during the bust at the Atrium shopping mall in Senen, Central Jakarta.
When BNN officers arrested the pair, they found Dedy in possession of one kilogram of meth. He later led the officers to his boarding room in Bandung, where officers discovered the rest of his stash.
The bust came just over a week since the arrest of a guard from the prison island of Nusakambangan off Central Java, the site of 13 of the 14 executions carried out so far this year. Almost all of those executed were foreign nationals.
In the Nusakambangan arrest, officers caught Bayu Anggit Permana, a guard from the island’s Batu Penitentiary, with 364 grams of meth.
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