Still they come….

Passport of the suspected drug mule Photo © Benjie Vergara

“NEVER mind the anti-drug war, business is business” seems to be the motivation behind the continuing attempts of drug syndicates to smuggle high grade cocaine in the country using mules of different nationalities.

This was the offhand comment on Monday of a Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) based anti-drug agent immediately after they arrested Genesis Lorena Pineda Salazar, a 20-year old Venezuelan who arrived on board Emirates Air Flight EK 332 from Sao Paolo, Brazil via Dubai. She was apprehended after 4.3 kilos of high grade cocaine was found in her checked-in luggage at the airport’s Terminal 3.

The Sao Paulo-Dubai route, Philippine authorities noted, is now frequently being used by international drug syndicates who are trying to make the country a major Asian transhipment point of cocaine, an expensive recreational drug which is way above the capacity of most Filipinos to buy. This is the fourth botched attempt to smuggle cocaine in the country using the Sao Paulo route.

Customs and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) operatives said that prior to the arrival of Salazar they were already alerted by the United States-Drug Enforcement Agency about her.

The anti-drug agents said the cocaine found in Salazar’s luggage was packed inside sachets of hair solution in an apparent attempt to mislead x-ray inspectors.

Read More:

Traffic of illegal drugs continue despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug war

Alert customs officers foiled cocaine smuggling attempt at the NAIA


Benjie Vergara
A veteran reporter covering the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. He is currently writing for Manila Times, the Philippines' oldest newspaper.

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