Up in vapor: Jakarta police bust lucrative MDMA and THC-laced vape liquid business

11 suspects, arrested for involvement in an illegal narcotics-laced vape liquid business, sitting behind evidence presented by the police. Photo: Instagram / @jktinfo
11 suspects, arrested for involvement in an illegal narcotics-laced vape liquid business, sitting behind evidence presented by the police. Photo: Instagram / @jktinfo

Vaping has risen in popularity in Indonesia in recent years and has boomed into a lucrative industry, but police say some have taken dangerously illegal routes towards profiting off the trend.

The Jakarta Metro Police’s Narcotics Investigation Directorate yesterday revealed the arrest of 11 suspected of being involved in the production of new kind of narcotics, having found a way to mix MDMA (commonly known as ecstasy) and THC (the active psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) into vape liquid.

The head of the directorate, Jean Calvin Simanjuntak, said the police first identified and arrested three college students connected to the network last week, saying each of them had played different roles in the group, from packaging to selling.

From there, the police identified the location of three labs, the main one being a house in North Jakarta’s Kelapa Gading, and arrested eight more suspects — all of them reportedly still young men — involved in what authorities say was a highly lucrative illegal enterprise.

“One bottle of vape liquid is sold for IDR350-400 thousand (US$23-26.50),” Jean told reporters, as quoted by Merdeka, adding that the suspects were able to produce 400 of these 5 ml bottles every day.

Jean also said that the suspects have no formal training in chemistry but were able to produce their illegal goods simply through trial and error. All of the arrested suspects could potentially face life imprisonment.

The police are currently on the hunt for three others in connection with the ring.


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