DOJ to prioritize raps vs. importers of ‘shabu’ in magnetic lifters

MANILA — The Department of Justice (DOJ) vowed to prioritize the criminal complaint filed by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) against the importer of billions of pesos worth of smuggled illegal drugs concealed in magnetic lifters.

“The DOJ will pay special attention to the investigation of all complaints and the prosecution of all cases involving illegal drugs,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in a text message to reporters Wednesday.

Last Aug. 16, the BOC filed a complaint for violation of Section 1401 (Unlawful Importation) in relation to Section 118 (g) (Prohibited Importation), pursuant to Sections 4 and 5 of RA 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, against the registered owner of Vecaba Trading, Vedasio Cabral Baraquel, who acted as the consignee for the importation of “shabu” (crystal meth) into the country.

The case stemmed from the seizure of 355 kg. of “shabu”, which were found inside two magnetic lifters at the Manila International Container Port.

The shipment from Malaysia was said to contain door frames, but upon inspection and 100-percent physical examination, it was found to actually contain two magnetic lifters containing 355 kg. of “shabu” estimated to be worth about PHP2.4 billion.

The shipment, which arrived in the country on June 28, was deemed abandoned after the consignee failed to file an entry document within 30 days from the date of discharge. Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNA –