Another Prison Guard Busted With Meth; Officers Seize 16 Kilos
Bandung. Indonesian authorities have arrested a second prison guard this month for alleged drug-dealing, this time working ironically enough at a penitentiary for drug offenders.
Agus Irianto, the chief warden of Banceuy Penitentiary in Bandung, confirmed late on Friday that the guard, Dedy Romadi, was arrested earlier in the day in Jakarta with 16.3 kilograms of methamphetamine and 778 ecstasy pills.
“It’s true that he was caught, but I don’t know the exact details yet,” he told the Jakarta Globe.
“From the latest developments, they’ve seized nearly 17 kilos of meth [from the suspect] and he’s being held for further investigation.”
Reports from Indonesia’s National Narcotics Agency, or BNN, which carried out the arrest, suggest that the guard 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 on Friday, 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, totaling 16.3 kilograms as well as nearly 800 ecstasy pills.
Agus said Dedy had been on his day off when he was arrested, adding that the news of a guard at his prison dealing in drugs came as a surprise to him.
“I leave it all up [to the BNN]. I certainly won’t cover for him,” he said.
However, the Justice Ministry, which oversees the prisons department and was not involved in the bust, is already making its excuses, claiming that only the one kilogram of meth Dedy was caught with belonged to him, while the remainder of the drugs belonged to the Iranian national.
Both suspects could face the death penalty if charged and convicted of drug trafficking.
Agus did not say whether his office planned to conduct an internal inspection to see if any other guards may also have been involved in the drug trade.
The bust comes 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 – all involving drug convicts.
In that arrest, officers caught Bayu Anggit Permana, a guard from the island’s Batu Penitentiary, with 364 grams of meth. A prisoner at the island, one of several on Nusakambangan, later admitted to paying Bayu to smuggle the drugs out of the prison.
Police have charge Bayu and Abdul with drug dealing – not trafficking – which carries a sentence of 12 to 20 years.
Drug seizures are common at prisons on Nusakambangan, where officials have a history of being complicit in allowing prisoners to set up meth labs.
The island was also the location for the executions on April 29 of eight convicted drug offenders, seven of them foreign nationals, including Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.
In going against international condemnation of the executions, President Joko Widodo claimed Indonesia was in the grip of a “drug emergency,” and that the death sentence served as a deterrent against would-be drug offenders.
The arrests of Bayu and now Dedy – and countless other offenders in between – would seem to suggest otherwise.
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