Camp Vicente Lim, Laguna: The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Regional Office in Calabarzon arrested members of an African drug syndicate and confiscated illegal drugs worth P20 million in an anti-drug operation in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
PDEA Regional Director Yogi Filemon Ruiz arrested Rufus Katumba, 44, Uganda national, and a Marlyn Ramos, 31, a Filipina.
The PDEA report said that the two suspects were arrested during the implementation of a search warrant, which resulted in the confiscation of at least ten kilos of cocaine and about two kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, with an estimated market value of P20 million.
The illegal drugs will be subjected to a chemical analysis at PDEA regional forensic laboratory for qualitative and quantitative examination.
Both suspects are temporarily detained at PDEA regional jail facility at Camp Vicente Lim, Laguna.
A case for violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 is being prepared against the suspects.
The Philippine News Agency identified Katumba as a director of sales of First Capital Card and World Buy-Philippine branch.
Ruiz, meanwhile, explained that the modus operandi of the African syndicate is to send recruited females to Hong Kong, carrying one to three kilos of cocaine hidden in their luggage. The drug courier is given P8,000 as allowance.
The PDEA director said these female couriers were recruited through the Internet, Facebook and other social media sites by offering them free travel to Hong Kong.
“They will get your confidence during the first trip without any drugs in the baggage, but on the second trip that’s the time your baggage is inserted with drugs, all expenses paid with pocket money,” Ruiz said.
The raid was an aftermath of the arrest of four Filipinas in Hong Kong last month, who were discovered to be carrying one kilo of cocaine inside their luggage.
PDEA conducted thorough investigation to track down and arrest other African drug syndicate members and their sources.
The operatives reminded our countrymen not to be very trusting when a foreigner approaches and offers them free travel with cash incentives.