DUE to the rising incidence of illegal drug smuggling attempts via private cargo handlers, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency last week met with the operators of locally based foreign express delivery, and domestic courier services to discuss security measures designed to end illegal drug smuggling through their networks.
PDEA Director General Aaron N Aquino arranged the meeting last Thursday following the recent seizures of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, cocaine and ecstasy from packages delivered via private mail or courier services.
“The presence of officials of international and domestic delivery express providers (during the meeting) shows their willingness to help address the rising incidences involving mail and parcel service as mode of trafficking dangerous drugs,” Aquino said.
Among the matters discussed were the different screening procedures to detect illegal drugs being implemented by each courier company, in particular the use of narcotic detection dogs (NDDs) and X-rays on suspicious packages.
“The PDEA also requested them to provide the agency a small and secured room to inspect suspected parcels containing dangerous drugs. This would prevent possible security breaches and inside job,” Aquino added.
Aquino said that drug syndicates always find ways to conveniently transport illegal drugs, including the use of mail and parcel courier service.
“They believed that the safest way to move illegal drugs covertly is through mail, because detection is much lower due to anonymity and use of fictitious names to mislead authorities. The absence of human contact in transporting dangerous drugs makes it nearly impossible to identify its owner,” he explained.
“PDEA remains vigilant to ensure that packages containing illegal drugs are intercepted,” Aquino said adding that “the agency encourages the full participation of the courier service providers in future interdiction operations.”
The PDEA regularly conducts random K9 sweeping and parcel screening on all cargo terminals nationwide. These led to the successful conduct of 102 mail and parcel interdiction operations, the seizure of millions of pesos worth of illegal drugs and the arrests of a number of consignees since 2013.
The PDEA is expected to acquire an additional 100 NDDs in 2018 with training worth PhP500,000 for each dog. Currently, the PDEA K9-unit has 52 NDDs and 57 handlers in 17 regions nationwide.