BUREAU of Customs (BoC) operatives at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) arrested on Friday a Filipina passenger from Cambodia for attempting to smuggle into the Philippines 6 kilograms of shabu with an estimated value of P40.8 million.
The suspect, identified as Marie Ruzol, 28, arrived at the NAIA Terminal 3 at 4 a.m. from Siem Reap, Cambodia aboard Cebu Pacific flight 5J258. She claimed is an overseas Filipino worker, who is currently on vacation.
Initial report from Customs authorities showed that the contraband was neatly hidden inside the passenger’s backpack, which was subjected to x-ray scanning as part of BoC’s border security measures.
Passengers’ bags, particularly of those who came from “high-risk” countries such as Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Myanmar, must undergo an x-ray scan.
The x-ray scan of Ruzol’s bag yielded images of suspected illegal drugs, which prompted authorities to conduct a physical examination of the baggage.
“Her baggage was subjected to 100 percent physical examination, where Customs personnel found a white crystalline substance inside two handbags, which were inside the backpack and [were] further concealed in a tea foil pack,” the BoC said.
The Customs Anti-Illegal Drugs Task Force then conducted a field test on the substance, which turned positive for shabu.
The passenger and the confiscated 6 kilos of shabu will be turned over to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency for the institution of inquest proceedings for violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 in relation to Sections 118 (Prohibited Importation), 1113 (Goods Liable for Seizure and Forfeiture) and 1401 (Unlawful Importation) of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
Also this year, shipments of shabu from Siem Reap were seized at the NAIA Terminal 1 in September and NAIA Terminal 3 in October. Two suspects were arrested — a Filipino and an Indonesian woman.
Meanwhile last month, 8 kilos of illegal drugs worth at least P54 million were seized from an Indonesian. In September, more than P35 million worth of shabu was also discovered in an unclaimed baggage at the NAIA Terminal 1.
Port of NAIA Collector Carmelita Talusan said since the implementation of the Customs bureau’s Border Protection at NAIA, several drugs had been seized in the country’s main gateway.