PH boosts efforts to probe Mexican drug cartel

Agence France-Presse
The cartel's leader is the 'most powerful' criminal on the planet, Forbes says

POLICE HQ. The Philippine National Police on Thursday announced the arrest of 3 people allegedly connected to a Mexican drug cartel. File photo by Jay Directo/AFP 7 Sept 2011

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines said Friday, December 27, it will take special measures to investigate the entry of Mexico’s feared Sinaloa drug cartel into the country.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said there would be increased cooperation between Philippine anti-drug agencies and their foreign counterparts after the arrest of 3 people allegedly linked to one of the world’s biggest drug syndicates. 

She also said the immigration bureau would try to find out how members of the cartel entered the Philippines amid reports that they used US passports.

“We are having improved information sharing which leads to the capture of either (drug) smugglers or of those (criminal) rings here. Because we don’t want our country to become a haven for illegal drugs,” she told reporters.

This came after Philippine anti-drug police said on Thursday, December 26, they had arrested 3 Filipinos who were storing illegal drugs for the Sinaloa drug cartel. (READ: PH arrests 3 linked to Mexico drug cartel.)

Leader: ‘Most powerful criminal’

The two Filipinos and one Filipino-Chinese were arrested for possession of 84 kilograms (185 pounds) of methamphetamine hydrochloride, popularly known as “ice,” “meth,” or “shabu,” as well as two firearms.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said in a statement on Friday that the illegal drugs came from Mexico and that 3 Mexican nationals, identified as “Jorge Gomez Torres,” as well as two individuals known just as “Jaime” and “Joey,” were involved but were not at the scene of the raid.

Previous police reports had said a Filipino named “Gary Torres” and two Mexicans known as “Jaime” and “Joey” were being sought.

The chief of the anti-drug agency, Arturo Cacdac Jr, said in the statement that the cartel considered the Philippines a “possible market and transshipment point for shabu because of the country’s geographical location… porous borders and vast coastlines.”

The Sinaloa cartel is reputed to be the largest source of illegal drugs to the United States.

Its main leader, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, escaped from a Mexican prison in 2001. He is now America’s most wanted drug trafficker, as well as being considered by Forbes as the most powerful criminal on the planet. –

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