The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency will dig deeper into the involvement of international drug syndicates behind floating block of cocaines found on Philippine shores.
PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said the blocks of cocaine found on the coastlines of Quezon, Siargao, Dinagat Islands and Camarines Norte in the past two weeks could just be a distraction to allow drug syndicates to smuggle more drugs into the country.
“Why would the syndicates allow to lose such amount of money [because of these floating blocks of cocaine?]’’ he asked.
“Why can’t they recover these?”
He said the drugs could have come from Colombia, China and the Golden Triangle (Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand).
Aquino had said that the PDEA is already coordinating with its international counterparts to identify the source of the illegal drugs.
He said some of the cocaine blocks had GPS navigation systems on them, which he said were being used to warn fellow drug traders to stay away from the area due to the presence of government authorities.
“The other angle we are looking into is that these syndicates are just trying to divert the attention of the security forces of our country to pave the way for a much bigger shipment of shabu. In short, if there is a recovery operation in those areas, the focus of attention is on the search and recovery of cocaine,” Aquino said.
“If our [area of] security is now open, that is the times a big shipment of may be shabu would enter. They [traders] would allow the seizure of small volume [of drugs], then comes the huge volume,” he added.
He said the country has become a transshipment of cocaine.
“It appears we are the transshipment point of cocaine and eventually, it would be brought back outside, then to be taken to Mainland China, Hong Kong or Australian,” he added.
He said, “the distraction is at the eastern seaboard, making the western side very open... nothing is happening there.”
He said the PDEA would continue to intensify security measures and intelligence surveillance in the western side.
Earlier, authorities said a block of suspected cocaine was found ashore in a coastal barangay in Mauban, Quezon. The contraband was forwarded to a crime laboratory in the province for further examination.
Blocks of cocaine were also found in the waters off Camarines Norte, Dinagat Islands, and Siargao.
Meanwhile, a police official said that there is a possibility that there are two drop-off points of cocaine in the country.
“Ang isang posibilidad dito ay dalawa ‘yung drop-off points,” Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Senior Superintendent
Bernard Banac said during a press briefing on Tuesday.
“Meron doon sa bahaging itaas, meron doon sa bahaging ibaba.”
He said that the police are closely monitoring is being implemented in the eastern seaboards of Calabarzon, Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Caraga, and Davao regions.
He added that the drug syndicates may be employing undocumented crew and unregistered seacrafts for their shipment.
So far, a total of 90 kilos of cocaine amounting to P500 million have been recovered in the waters off the different provinces in the country.
Banac said the PNP will beef up its coastal monitoring, adding that funds have already been allocated to procure speedboats and other maritime facilities that would be used to ensure that shipments of illegal drugs will not prosper.
Meanwhile, Banac advised coastal residents and fisherfolk to report any suspicious devices and packages which they may find off the waters and on shorelines.
“Ang ating lamang magagawa dito ay magtulong tulong tayong lahat lalo na yun mga fishermen (What we can do here is let us help each other especially our fishermen),” Banac said.
“Tulungan po natin ang PNP na marecover lahat pa na mga nandun. Kung sakaling meron pa kayong makita, ipagbigay alam na natin. (Let us help PNP to recover if there are still (cocaine bricks) there. If you have seen suspicious item, let us know),” he added.
Banac warned that possession of prohibited drugs is normally a non-bailable offense.
“They should not make money out of it. They should be aware that they will end up in jail if they are caught in possession of the cocaine,” Banac said.
Meanwhile, Banac thanked local residents and fishermen who reported at least 90 bricks of cocaine they found off the waters and shorelines of Dinagat Island, Camarines Norte and Surigao del Norte last week.
“Your active participation in our anti-illegal drugs law enforcement operations and maintenance of peace and order continues to inspire us in performing our mandate as provided for by law to fight illegal drugs with utmost respect for human rights,” he said. With PNA