By Nelson Flores, Ll.B., MSCK
PHILIPPINE Drug Enforcement Agency Director General Aaron Aquino has expressed suspicion that some government officials and employees are helping international illegal drugs syndicates hence the brazen attempts to smuggle illegal drugs in the country via the postal service and piers despite the on-going intensified anti-illegal drugs campaign.
This was learned after the PDEA on Thursday discovered stashed in a warehouse in General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite four magnetic lifters, similar those to those used in the recent attempt to smuggle illegal drugs in the country via Manila’s North Harbor. The magnetic lifters were found to be positive with traces of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu.
“We are doing our best to address the drug problem in the country, however, it pains me to assume that there are government officials and employees who are helping drug syndicates in facilitating the entry of illegal drugs in our country,” a visibly frustrated Aquino said.
The discovery stemmed from the ongoing investigation of more or less 500 kilograms of shabu concealed inside a magnetic lifter that was intercepted by combined operatives of PDEA, Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Bureau of Customs at the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT), North Harbor, Manila on August 7, 2018.
On August 9, 2018, operatives of PDEA Regional Offices National Capital Region (PDEA RO NCR) deployed its two K9s (narcotic detection dogs) to check the presence of illegal drugs on the magnetic lifters, which were found. The K9s positively detected traces of the illegal drug. However, upon inspection by the PDEA and PNP the magnetic lifters were empty.
The four magnetic lifters were estimated to have contained approximately 1,000 kilos or one ton of shabu with an estimated value of PhP6.8 billion, Aquino said, adding his belief that the illegal drugs in the magnetic lifters were already distributed in the streets.
“It is saddening to us, PDEA, to know that this syndicate was able to slip in 1,000 kilos of drugs in our streets. I hope PDEA can seize these illegal drugs,” Aquino said.
Aquino said that initial information revealed that the illegal drug came from Taiwan, and the syndicate only used Malaysia as transshipment point, adding that the Golden Triangle syndicate is behind the shipment.
Magnetic lifters are mainly used to lift steel plates, blocks, press molds, load and unload in machines during handling operations. It can hoist iron blocks and other magnetic materials. It is widely used as lifting devices in factories, docks, warehouses and transportation industries.