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We are Watching You, From a Distance

Bali's Airport Joins International On-Line Network to Monitor the Movement of Those Involved in the Narcotics Trade.

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Bali's airport just became more troublesome for those trying to smuggle narcotics in or out of Bali with the installation of an Outstation Airport Interdiction System. The system, connected internationally to on-line data base to detect the presence of known narcotics offenders entering or leaving the airport, was provided to Bali by the Joint Interagency Task Force West headquartered in Hawaii.

The Escalating War on Narcotics

Recent high-profile drug prosecutions in Bali are part of a growing indication that Indonesia is becoming a center for the transit, production and use of illegal narcotics. Antinarcotics officers in Jakarta in late 2005, under the command of Bali's former Chief of Police Made Mangku Pastika, busted one of the largest ecstasy factories, confiscating 75,000 tablets and 200 kilograms of sabu-sabu (crystal meth) and arresting the key players at the Chinese-financed operation.

The recent handing down of death sentences to a 6 young Australian among 9 of their countrymen involved in smuggling heroin through Bali's airport and the earlier long prison sentence for Shapelle Corby, have renewed calls for leniency and mercy for those captured netted by Indonesian authorities in their war on drugs. Those supporting a hard-line no-compromise approach towards drug dealers point to the tremendous financial and human costs borne by the Indonesian public as a result of the illicit drug trade.

And, what are those costs?

Illicit drugs traded in Indonesia with an estimated street value of Rp. 11.3 trillion (approximately US$122.8 million) are tied to an estimated 15,000 deaths each year, mostly among young Indonesians entering their most productive years. Moreover, in a country that has suffered greatly at the hands of international terrorism, the irrefutable link between the illegal drug trade and the financing of terrorism bolsters local resolve to cut narcotics dealers little slack and even less mercy.

The new Outstation Airport Interdiction System just installed at Bali's airport will help police track the movement of drug suspect and is part of a nationwide system now in place at airports in Jakarta and Medan. Additional stations are slated for installation soon in Makassar, Batam, Padang and Surabaya.

Commenting on the installation of the new anti-narcotic networking system, General Made Pastika, Head of the National Anti-Narcotics Squad, said: "Hopefully the installation of this machinery will help us uncover and destroy narcotic networks and maximize our efforts to destroy inter-provincial narcotic networks."

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