A 22-year old Filipino student was reportedly duped by his Brazilian friend to bring in Manila two suitcases which, allegedly unknown to him, was filled with 4.8 kilos of cocaine with an estimated street value of P20 million.
This is what was learned from Jonjon Villamin shortly after he was arrested Sunday night at the Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport by Customs Anti-Illegal Drugs Task Force and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency operatives for allegedly trying to smuggle “high value drugs” in the country.
Villamin, who arrived at the country’s premier airport on board Emirates Air Flight EK 332 from Brazil via Dubai, was intercepted and arrested while he was collecting his two checked-in luggage. His attempt to smuggle cocaine in the Philippines was tipped off to local authorities by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency.
During his interrogation, Villamin told his captors that he met his Brazilian friend two years ago while was working for a local communications company. The Brazilian, whose name is withheld pending follow up operations by the US-DEA, recently offered him an all expenses paid vacation with pocket money in Brazil which he accepted.
Before returning to Manila, Villamin said, his friend asked him to bring the two luggage in Manila as a return favor to which he said yes without even inspecting the contents of the bag.
NAIA District Collector Ed Macabeo said the cocaine was found by Customs examiners concealed in a false bottom and sidings in the two luggage. Two kilos were found in one of his luggage and the remaining 2.8 kilos was in the other luggage. He added that before going to Brazil, Villamin stayed in Hong Kong for ten days where it is believed he was recruited by an international drug syndicate.
Villamin’s story, according to NAIA sources, is similar to what happened to an elderly American who was caught last August at the Clark International Airport while also allegedly trying to smuggle cocaine from Brazil.
Meanwhile, Macabeo appealed to all Filipino travelers to be wary of carrying uninspected luggage lest they become unsuspecting drug mules.