Tempo Semanal - dili, 19/11/2012
Since the middle of August 2012 the Timorese National Police Service (PNTL)has been involved in the arrest of dozens of Indonesian, African and European persons for allegedly being involved in smuggling narcotics into Timor-Leste. The value of drugs seized has been in the range of 10-15 million USD.
Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao today recognised that the country is being used as a transit route for drug dealers to smuggle narcotics into Indonesia and possibly to Australia as well.
According to data which Tempo Semanal has acquired it shows that a suspect with initials EP is a Indonesian of Javanese descent who has been living in Bali for a long time came to East Timor on 31/10/2012. he only stay one day in Dili and then flew on to Colombia trough Singapore.
He returned to Dili on 13/11/2012 from Colombia with more then five kilogram of cocaine. He has been held by the authorities since 13/11/2012 and yesterday another Indonesian woman name initials HH came from Bali to collect the narcotics and take to Indonesia.
HH was captured in the same hotel used by EP in Dili by the authorities and today presented to PM Xanana in Dili airport before being taken to police custody.
As the Indonesian wealthy class expands so its desire for drugs like in other wealthy countries. Lesser developed countries with weak institutions often end up becoming transit routes for drug smugglers as in the case of Guinea Bissau which has become hijacked by drug barons and is now known as a narco state bringing chronic instability. Timorese authorities while working hard to ensure this does not happen in east Timor. However questions remain as to why drug smugglers have chosen Dili as a transit route - suggesting they had some authorities in their payroll to look the other way. This seems to have come to an end. But the authorities must remain vigilant that some elements are being paid to assist in the drug smuggling.