Cebu News

P800M worth of cocaine found in Samar


TACLOBAN CITY , Philippines  — The joint operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Philippine National Police (PNP) and military troops have recovered a total of 139 bricks of suspected cocaine that are estimated to worth around P800 million in the shorelines of several coastal towns of Eastern Samar since last Tuesday.

This after authorities recovered anew some 80 bricks of suspected cocaine worth some P400 million in the shorelines of Balangyan, San Policarpo, Llorente and Maydolong in an extensive follow-up operations yesterday. The operation was done after local fishermen earlier found 59 bricks of cocaine valued at P354 million.

Eastern Visayas PDEA regional director Julius Navales, during the presentation of the recovered illegal drugs to the media, said the joint operatives used at least two K-9 dogs and helicopter to help in the recovery of more cocaine. Initial findings indicated that the shipment of cocaine came from a source in South America and the suspected cargo ship carrying the drug haul was en route to Hong Kong, passing through the Pacific Ocean.

On Tuesday, fishermen recovered 59 bricks of suspected cocaine in the island barangays of Mina-anod and Llorente, Eastern Samar.

Authorities informed media that two bricks of white powder substances believed to be cocaine weighing one kilogram each were initially turned over to the Llorente municipal police station by fishermen Jonel Cagayan, Christopher Alido and Niño Busa.

According to Navales, a local chemist who placed the suspected cocaine in laboratory test confirmed that 80 percent the said substance was cocaine. “Pina-laboratory test ng local chemist namin dito at nakita at na-confirmed na cocaine nga eto.”

Police Regional Office-8 director Mario Sandiego, immediately directed all police stations along the shorelines in the province to closely monitor any similar recovery of bricks of cocaine by the fishermen, and also mobilize Bantay Dagat of Llorente and neighboring towns and inform the public to turnover to the PNP and PDEA authorities any similar recovered items.

Sandiego said that upon receiving reports of the find, they responded and went to the site where the items were found and discovered more brick packages containing the illegal substance in the possession of fishermen.

“We are warning the people in Eastern Samar to report and turnover to the law enforcement agencies any recovery of similar substance, otherwise they will be sanctioned according to the law,” Navales said.

For his part, Dangerous Drugs Board Secretary Clarence Paul Oaminal said the composite team is still conducting the search for more cocaine bricks in the coastal towns of Eastern Samar and that the team is not discounting the possibility that more cocaine bricks might have been washed ashore or still drifting in the sea.

Oaminal said the authorities are conducting further investigations as to why this volume of drugs has been dumped in the area.

He also disclosed that the suspected ship carrying the cocaine had already been apprehended by the Hong Kong police. However, upon inspection, he added the ship was no longer found to be carrying the prohibited drug.

Oaminal theorized that the crew of the cocaine-bearing vessel got a tip from its intelligence network, and when they sensed that they were already under surveillance by international drug enforcement agencies, they dumped the illegal drugs off the Samar Sea to avoid arrest being implicated.

With the incident, the DDB head said he will call for a review of the country’s baseline security and ask that stricter inspection be made on international container vans entering the country.

Oaminal also said he will request the Department of National Defense (DND), of which the DDB is a member of, to report to the Board in its January 21, 2010 meeting on the baseline security protocol of the country and to suggest measures how to prevent similar incidents from happening.

According to Oamninal, the next national security council meeting issues on illegal drug operations in the country would be one of the main agenda.

In January 2009, survey from the thousands of drugs dependent no one was found using of cocaine except shabu, marijuana and ecstasy which is more affordable for the user.

“Siguro dahil na rin sa kamahalan dito, karamihan kilala ang illegal drugs na ito sa developed countries like in US and Europe,” Oaminal added.

All in all, according to PDEA close to P1 billion worth of cocaine are now in the custody of PDEA central office that are still to undergo laboratory testing for confirmation. — Miriam Garcia Desacada and Marlon A. Tano with reports from Nestor L. Abrematea/WAB   (FREEMAN NEWS)












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