Erwida Maulia, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 01/31/2009 1:19 PM
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visited a factory used to manufacture illegal drugs Friday in a bid to encourage the fight against drug trafficking.
Yudhoyono was accompanied by National Police chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri and several other senior police officers during the inspection at the factory, which had been sealed off a day earlier by police in Cengkareng, West Jakarta.
The closure of the factory, used to produce significant quantities of crystal methamphetamine (shabu-shabu), was "good news" for police, who have been criticized in the past for their unsuccessful attempts to combat illegal drugs across the nation, the President said.
"The police have basically done a great job in the field of transnational crimes, such as terrorism, but unfortunately this success has not really translated into operations involving drug crimes," he said just hours earlier when launching the National Police's "Quick Wins" bureaucratic reform program at their headquarters in South Jakarta.
"Praise be to God. I hear the police have conducted a remarkable operation and discovered a center capable of producing large quantities of crystal methamphetamine," he said.
After the event, Yudhoyono visited the factory to congratulate police on their brilliant work and encourage them to keep up the fight against narcotics.
On Thursday, Jakarta police raided the factory and arrested the three people allegedly responsible for operating it. The factory occupied two upper floors of a three-story shop front, with the first floor used as an internet caf* to cover their illegal activities upstairs.
Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Zulkarnain said his office was questioning the three suspects while hunting down their accomplices.
The police also confiscated a large quantity of crystal methamphetamine and the raw ingredients used to produce it, he added.
Yudhoyono told reporters after the inspection that around 75 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, worth a total of Rp 120 billion (US$11 million), was seized from the factory.
"This was a very unlikely place for drugs to be produced. But it appears this place was used to manufacture illegal drugs, including and crystal methamphetamines," the President said.