Ilham Oktafian, Jakarta – The Jakarta Police have arrested 10 suspects and seized dozens of guns along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition during recent raids targeting an arms trade syndicate.
This syndicate is accused of facilitating the sale of firearms to militants and other buyers through covert transactions, Chief Commissioner Hengki Haryadi, the general crime director of the Jakarta Police, said during a press conference on Monday.
The investigation is being carried out in collaboration with the Military Police, who initially detected suspicious activities on the WhatsApp messaging platform.
Among the suspects is an individual with a prior criminal record related to similar offenses, said Hengki.
"In 2017, he was convicted for engaging in the illicit arms trade and supplying weapons to terrorists," Hengki said, although he refrained from going into further details, citing the ongoing early stage of the investigation.
Hengki added: "Several other suspects were captured on the slopes of a mountain in Cianjur."
Major General Eka Permana, Vice Commander of the Army's Military Police, provided additional insights during the same conference. He said that his unit was responsible for apprehending the initial suspect, identified only by the initials IP. Eka indicated that IP, a civilian, had allegedly employed falsified documents to facilitate firearm sales.
"During the interrogation of IP, the Military Police unearthed a WhatsApp group that was being utilized to facilitate the illegal trade of firearms," Eka explained.
The joint operation yielded the seizure of 44 firearms, including 24 factory-produced rifles and pistols, along with 1,138 rounds of ammunition.
Hengki revealed that the syndicate employed common delivery service companies for their operations. However, the purchased firearms were concealed in inconspicuous packaging, accompanied by deceptive item descriptions.