August 8, 2018 – Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers commended officials of the Bureau of Customs (BoC) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) for the seizure of P3.5 billion worth of shabu at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) in Manila on Monday.
Barbers, chair of the House of Representatives’ committee on dangerous drugs, said the latest shabu haul weighing 500 kilos was a big accomplishment on the part of the government’s supply reduction campaign against illegal drugs.
PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said the drug syndicate involved in the foiled shabu smuggling at the MICP, which he refused to identify, used Malaysia as the transshipment point for the drugs and VICABA Trading International here, owned by Vidacio Cabral Baraquiel with address at 712 Galicia St., 1st District, Manila, as consignee of the shipment.
Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña and PDEA Chief Aquino said they have started the investigation of the consignee and would coordinate with Malaysian authorities about the shipment.
Lapeña said the shipment was declared as door frames, and arrived at the MICP on June 28, 2018, but was later abandoned for a month. The PDEA earlier informed the BoC that a huge shabu shipment was about to be offloaded at the MICP.
According to Lapeña, the BoC is authorized to open any shipment that is abandoned for over a month.
Prior to the opening up of the two round and hollow metal magnetic lifters, the PDEA deployed drug-sniffing dogs which initially failed to detect the contraband. Magnetic lifters are mainly used to lift steel plates, blocks, molds, and load/unload in machines during handling operation.
It was only when the magnetic lifter was lifted that the dogs detected the drugs. This means that the drug syndicates involved sealed and concealed their shipment tightly that even PDEA’s drug-sniffing dogs failed to smell the drugs in them.
In May 2017, a drug syndicate concealed P6.4B worth of drugs shipment inside a metal rolling pin which is being used for printing. More than 600 kilos worth of shabu were seized by BoC, PDEA and NBI agents inside a warehouse in Valenzuela City.
Barbers said drug syndicates have become innovative in their drug shipments to avoid detection by authorities.
“Our authorities should be adept and always remain vigilant against new tactics being used by drug syndicates,” the congressman said.
He pointed out that illegal drugs have continued to proliferate despite the intensified anti-drug operations of the Duterte administration.#