Shabu worth P7-billion slips past Customs

Four container vans of shabu in Cavite worth P7 billion have been brought to the streets, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said Friday, in yet another big smuggling case that has slipped past the authorities’ hands.

CONTINUING DOSSIERS. PDEA Director Aaron Aquino (far right) inspects Friday four customized cylindrical steel cases used to transport illegal drugs in the country, as Customs director Yogi Filemon Ruiz (inset) shows smuggled cigarettes with fake tax stamps. Norman Cruz
The PDEA made the statement even as the Bureau of Customs said Friday more than P50 million worth of smuggled goods including fake Adidas, Nike and other branded shoes, watches and apparel had been destroyed in an accredited condemnation facility in Laguna.

Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña said they destroyed 500,000 pieces of fake sandals and rubber shoes, T-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, pants, jackets, slippers and children’s shoes. 

PDEA director general Aaron Aquino said they raided a warehouse at the CRS Subdivision in F. Reyes village, General Mariano Alvarez, after receiving information from its caretaker about the presence of four magnetic lifting equipment containing the illegal drugs.

“Sad to say, the illegal drugs with an estimated value of P7 billion were no longer there and made their way to the streets,” Aquino said.

He said they had already identified at least 19 suspects, including 11 Chinese nationals, who could have been involved in the transshipment of the drugs to the Philippines through the Port of Manila.

“We want to know why such a huge volume of drugs came in and hit the streets. What really happened at the port?” Aquino said.

“[Only] the Bureau of Customs could answer that. A while ago, I called up [Customs] Commissioner Isidro Lapeña [to inform him about it],” Aquino said. 

“Outright, he will relieve the collector at the Manila International Container Terminal.”

Based on the dossiers at Customs, the four consigned containers of the magnetic lifters came from Taiwan, Aquino said. 

“The [drug] trade is being operated by the Chinese Triad or the Golden Triangle international syndicate,” he said.

The empty magnetic lifters found in Cavite were similar to the P4.3-billion shipment of 500 kilograms of shabu confiscated on Aug. 7 at the MICT.

“I have a gut feel that a big volume of shabu had slipped,” Aquino said.

“The syndicates have become more creative and creative. They have been one step ahead of us now. We are studying their movement [carefully] so they could not get away from us. We must be the one to be one step ahead.”

Aquino said there were corrupt officials inside Customs. 

“The drug syndicates are brave because they have links here,” he said. 

Topics: Cavite , Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency , Bureau of Customs , Isidro Lapeña
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