Jakarta (Reuters) – Indonesian police in a joint operation with Thai and Malaysian authorities this week arrested 39 people allegedly linked to a major regional drug syndicate that has amassed hundreds of millions in assets, a senior police official said.
The suspects, arrested across the three countries, are linked to a “structured” syndicate that traffics methamphetamine out of the ‘Golden Triangle’ – an intersection of Myanmar, Thailand and Laos that has a long history producing illegal narcotics – to countries like Indonesia, police said.
The network is run by Indonesian national Fredy Pratama, who remains at large, and has since 2020 amassed more than 10.5 trillion rupiah ($683.73 million) in assets including real estate, said Wahyu Widada, chief of Indonesian national police’s criminal investigation department.
“After much investigation, it was found that Fredy Pratama’s syndicate is quite big,” he said in a press conference on Tuesday, adding police had confiscated a total of about 10 tons of meth since 2020.
It was unclear whether the syndicate remains in operation.
Police said the suspects arrested in Indonesia could face the death penalty for violating what are among the world’s harshest anti-narcotics laws.