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Indonesia’s Drug Czar Is Buying Up Weapons After Saying He Wants a Duterte-Style Drug War

14 Suspected Smugglers Arrested Following Drug Raid In jakarta
Barcroft Media/Getty Images Indonesian officers from the National Narcotics Agency arrest three Pakistani and 11 African smuggling suspects during an illegal-drugs raid on Jan. 29, 2016, in Jakarta

The life of a drug dealer is "meaningless," says Budi Waseso

Indonesia’s antinarcotics agency is on a shopping spree for weapons and intelligence tools as it prepares to ramp up its crackdown on drug trafficking.

Budi Waseso, head of the country’s National Narcotics Agency (BNN), said that this was to match the firepower wielded by some of country’s drug gangs, reports the Jakarta Post.

“We should modernize our equipment since our enemies are drug dealers who have different capabilities,” said Budi, according to the Post.

The announcement came on the heels of comments made by Budi at a BNN press conference, seemingly calling on the country to follow the ruthless path pursued by the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and start its own drug war, as the BBC reports.

According to the BBC, the Indonesian antidrug czar said that the life of a drug dealer is “meaningless because [he] carries out mass murder,” adding that he believed Indonesia should be aggressive like the Philippines in pursuing drug offenders.

However, a BNN spokesperson later clarified that “punishments have to be in accordance with our law and with national and international standards.”

In the Philippines, where the tough-talking Duterte has waged his drug war since he took office, the number of people killed by government or vigilante forces for drug-related reasons has exceeded 2,400, according to the latest numbers. This bloody streak has been roundly condemned by the U.N.

Indonesia already has some of the world’s toughest antinarcotics legislation. Its executions of foreign nationals convicted on drug charges have attracted protests from the countries involved, with some of them recalling their ambassadors.

Last November, Agence France-Presse reported that Budi proposed to hold death-row inmates convicted on drug-related charges on an island guarded by crocodiles.

Indonesia has a dark history of tackling crime with extrajudicial killings. The so-called petrus killings of the 1980s resulted in the deaths of thousands of alleged offenders.

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