MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC), led by its chief Isidro Lapeña, turned over to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Wednesday, December 2, some P17.5 million worth of shabu it had seized, and two suspects who claimed the contraband from a Fedex warehouse.
The 3.5 kilograms of shabu or methamphetamine hydrochloride were seized at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) last December 11. They were smuggled into the country in a package declared to be containing toys.
Upon closer inspection of the package, customs officers found packs of a white crystalline substance.
“The suspicious image shown during x-ray inspection prompted the 100% physical examination. The matter was referred to the Customs Anti-Illegal Drugs Task Force for initial drug test, which resulted positive for methamphetamine,” Lapeña said in a press release.
The two suspects – Francis Melvin Feliciano, 26, and Raquel Kilario Dela Cruz – were nabbed after they claimed the shipment at the Federal Express (FedEx) warehouse.
The package with the shabu was being kept at the FedEx warehouse in PAL/PSI building.
The suspects presented the ID of a certain Michael Espino Cruz, to whom the package was consigned to.
Cruz’s address was stated as 121-C Kowloon Street, BF Homes, Parañaque. The shipment was sent by Jason Lee of 340 E 1st, California, USA.
With the shabu and suspects turned over to the PDEA, the agency takes over the investigation into the case.
Taking advantage of Christmas
Only last December 12, the BOC also turned over to PDEA P57.5 million worth of seized shabu, the bureau in the same statement.
This involved two separate packages, which totaled 11.5 kilograms of shabu. They were consigned to a certain Rogelio Almodiel, 41 (of 11 North Stamford Residence Tower, Upper Mckinley Road corner Florence, Taguig City) and Hasmine Erquiza (with an address at 32 St. Vicente, Villa España Subdivision, Barangay Tatalon, Quezon City).
As with the shabu turned over on Wednesday, these two shabu packages were declared to be containing toys.
As with the more recent shabu seizure, the two packages were found in a FedEx facility – a FedEx delivery service branch in Pasay City.
PDEA chief Director General Aaron Aquino said drug smugglers are making the most of the Christmas season when delivery services are overwhelmed with packages.
“These illegal drugs or illegal drug group are taking advantage of the Christmas season. It happens, but they are taking advantage of it. And we expect that there are more illegal drugs shipments to come using courier delivery services and shipping services,” Aquino said.
He said they will coordinate with courier delivery companies like FedEx to craft rules to prevent more illegal packages from entering the country.
Back in November 2016, two drug suspects were nabbed, also at the FedEx cargo warehouse in NAIA. – Pia Ranada/Rappler.com