6 drug couriers nabbed in NAIA — PDEA

MANILA — The Ninoy Aquino International Airport Inter-Agency Drug Interdiction Task Group (NAIA-IADITG) arrested six drug couriers attempting to smuggle cocaine in the country, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agecny said on Sunday.

PDEA Director General Isidro S. Lapeña said that the Inter-Agency Interdiction Task Group continues to bear positive results in safeguarding NAIA from being used as entry and exit points for drug trafficking, particualrly mentioning the recent arrests of five foreign nationals and a Filipino student, who attempted to transport a total of over 40 kilograms of cocaine, with an estimated market value of PHP214 million, into the country during the past three weeks.

“The most recent NAIA-IADITG accomplishments were the arrest of Yasmin Fernandez Silva, 20 years old, a Brazilian national; and Genesis Lorena Pineda Salazar, 22, a Venezuelan national on October 15, 2016 and October 17, 2016, respectively, at the NAIA Terminal 3, which led to the confiscation of 10.5 kilograms of cocaine worth P55 million between them,” Lapeña said.

Last Oct. 2, Jon-Jon Villamin, 22, a Filipino student was arrested in NAIA for carrying 4.44 kilos of cocaine worth PHP25 million hidden in his luggage. Three days after, two Hong kong residents Pau Homanevan, 28; and Chan Kawai, 24; and Kirdyushin Yury, 31, a Russian national, were also arrested for attempting to smuggle in the country a total of 25.4 kilograms of cocaine and 2,207 ml of liquid cocaine worth PHP134 million.

“All the arrested drug couriers traveled on a connecting flight from Brazil via Dubai to Manila. Reliable information from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (USDEA) that cocaine-carrying persons, who are headed to the Philippines led to the successful seizures,” Lapeña said, adding that some of the cocaine is intended for Bangkok, Thailand and Guangzhou, China

Lapeña cited the close coordination and strengthened collaboration among the member-agencies of the NAIA-IADITG, particularly the immigration officers and law enforcement agents who profile suspected couriers, and the Duty Customs Examiners for their diligence and vigilance in the timely detection of illegal drugs concealed in false compartments of luggages during routine inspection and the intelligence information regularly provided by the USDEA.

The NAIA-IADITG, which was created on Sept. 29, 2011, is headed by PDEA, whose members include the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), Office for Transportation Security (OTS), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Department of Justice- National Prosecution Service (DOJ-NPS), Bureau of Customs (BOC), Philippine National Police Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (PNP-AIDSOTF), Bureau of Immigration (BI), and the PNP Aviation Security Group (ASG).

“International drug trafficking organizations has found the Philippines as a transshipment point for cocaine as evidenced by the series of attempted entries of cocaine from overseas.” the PDEA chief said. PNA-northboundasia.com