THREE million pesos worth of illegal drugs were turned over on Tuesday to the Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA), three months after Bureau of Customs (BOC) operatives seized them at a mail warehouse in Pasay City.
Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña said the six packages that came from the United States and Germany contained “shabu” (methamphetamine hydrochloride), ecstasy pills, marijuana and marijuana oil and were sent through the Central Mail Exchange Center (CMEC) from July to August 2017.
Lapeña said authorities delayed the turnover hoping that the consignees would claim the shipment. None came.
The consignees were identified as Mark Danglasan of Hagdang Bato, Madaluyong City; Joel Shila of Marikina; Vicky Alvarez of Sto, Niño, San Juan City; and James Garcia and Divino Peleo.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Lapeña presented the seized items to media.
“As presented, that’s how they are packed. The cannabis oil in a bottle placed inside a box, the ecstasy pills in [a]smaller box and packed in smaller plastic envelopes,” said Lapeña. The items were declared as food additives, apparels, handbags, and school supplies.
Lapeña said the modus operandi of sending drugs through mail has been going on for quite sometime but was stopped after Rodrigo Duterte assumed the presidency in July 2016. One of Duterte’s campaign promises was to rid the country of illegal drugs.
“We successfully prevented the entry of drugs through effective Customs operations and strict implementation of anti-smugglng programs and policies,” said Lapeña who replaced Nicanor Faeldon as Customs chief in August.
Lapeña said that charges would be filed against the consignees for violation of provisions of Republic Act 10863, otherwise known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act and RA 9165 otherwise known as Comprehensive Dangerous Drug Act of 2002.
Newly appointed Customs District III Collector Ramon Anquilan made sure that no illegal drugs would come out of the airport and warehouses undetected.
Lapeña said all mail packages and container vans would be subjected to x-ray to ensure that they were clean.
Lapeña was former PDEA chief.
Duterte replaced Faeldon, who stayed for more than a year, amid allegations of corruption. WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL, BENJIE VERGARA