Government agents assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have intercepted a smuggled shipment of kush and liquid marijuana worth P1.2 million, and arrested its claimant in a controlled delivery operation in Kidapawan City.
The package, which arrived at the Central Mail Exchange Center (CMEC) in Pasay City, was shipped by a certain Janice Nguyen from Folsom, California and was declared as cooking set, a clear case of technical smuggling, according to the authorities.
Prior to the follow up entrapment operation in Kidapawan, the Bureau of Customs – Port of NAIA placed the shipment under profiling and examination. The examiners discovered that the package contained 927 grams of Kush or high-grade marijuana, and 22 pieces of vape cartridge with liquid marijuana worth more than P1.2 million.
The Customs operatives conducted the controlled delivery operation with help from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), and the NAIA Inter-Agency Drug Interdiction Task Group, resulting in the arrest of the consignee identified as Jude Paolo Javier.
This was the first drug seizure made by the Customs bureau under the leadership of its new Commissioner Yogi Filemon Ruiz, a former regional director of PDEA.
The claimant was detained pending filing of criminal charges for alleged violation of Republic Act (RA) 9165 otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 and RA 10863 also known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
Port of NAIA district collector Carmelita Talusan said amidst the threat posed by the COVID-19 virus, the bureau maintains its commitment to protect the country’s border and prevent attempts to smuggle illegal goods and contrabands.
“As parcels and package movement increase as part of the new normal, the port remains vigilant in intensifying border protection measures and enforcement efforts to prevent illegal goods in the country balanced with revenue collection and trade facilitation,” she said.
The same composite team recently seized a smuggled shipment of ecstasy drugs worth P5 million, and arrested its claimant, also during a controlled delivery operation in Cebu City.
The shipment containing 2,984 pieces of ecstasy from the Netherlands was falsely declared by the importer as women’s clothing and consigned to a certain Lunel Paden.
From 2019, there were 31 anti-narcotics operations conducted by the Port of NAIA, 43 in 2020, and 57 in 2021.
This year, the Customs bureau so far recorded a total of 47 drug seizures with an estimated value of P1.7 billion.