MANILA, Philippines—In five months since February this year, the Bureau of Customs at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has intercepted illegal drugs worth P24 million but has not been able to prosecute anybody since senders often use fictitious names and addresses.
“We tried tracing the senders. But in most cases, it was either no one with such name lived in the given address, or no such address existed,” Ed Macabeo, NAIA district collector for the BoC, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer over the phone.
On Wednesday, customs officials at the NAIA turned over their haul of at least six sacks containing assorted items of prohibited drugs to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency for their disposal.
The BOC and the PDEA estimated the value of the haul at P24 million.
Among the seized items were packets of methamphetamine hydrochloride, otherwise known as shabu, and regulated addictive substances like valium, ativan, dormicum, rivotril, and ritalin tablets.
“Since December, we have made a conscious effort to intercept illegal drugs hidden in outbound cargoes. We had been receiving reports that some recipients who are clueless of the prohibited drugs hidden in shipment coming from the Philippines end up in jail,” Macabeo said.
In effect, customs officers, he added, have been nipping the movement of illegal drugs in the bud by stopping them right before they could get out of the country.
He explained that some overseas Filipino workers unknowingly fell into the trap and got jailed for a crime they had nothing to do with.
Macabeo said after getting such complaints, the BOC in NAIA set up a team to watch out for suspicious objects through its X-ray scanners.
These suspicious packages were opened and checked by examiners.
On Tuesday, the BOC seized an Israel-bound mail containing 15 grams of shabu hidden in fastened papers.
On Monday, on the other hand, customs officials found a package with 10 grams of white crystal-like substance suspected as shabu inside a piece of drinking straw.