MANILA - The almost P2 billion worth of drugs confiscated in a Cavite warehouse is suspected to have come from within Southeast Asia and entered the Philippines through "shipside smuggling" with the use of smaller vessels, the chief of the anti-narcotics agency said Monday.
Two Chinese nationals were killed after they fought operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency during a raid on Sunday afternoon. Authorities retrieved 274 kilograms of supposed shabu worth P1.9 billion.
The drugs were from the "Golden Triangle," in the border of Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar, said PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino. These packages were thrown into sea from large ships then picked up by smaller vessels, then brought to Philippine coastlines, he said.
"Ang duda namin banda dito sa Region 1 ginagawa ito at ito’y binabiyahe na lang papuntang Cavite. From Cavite kasi, yung proximity, mas malapit sa Metro Manila so 'yun ang nakikita nilang paraan para mas lumapit at ma-market at i-distribute itong ilegal na droga sa NCR," he told radio DZMM.
(We suspect this happens in Region 1 and brought to Cavite. From Cavite, Metro Manila is close so we think this is their way of bring it close to the National Capital Region, to market and distribute it.)
The Golden Triangle syndicate has been "persistent" in bringing drugs into the country, concentrating mainly on shipside smuggling after authorities became more stringent in guarding airports and seaports, said Aquino.
"Sila rin ang nagpapasok ng drugs from Mindanao kaya makikita mo, medyo mura ang drugs sa Mindanao kasi ginagamit nila ang Sulu Sea. Ang drugs nanggagaling either sa Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand—grupo pa rin ng Golden Triangle—at binabiyahe papasok ng Zamboanga. From Zamboanga, idi-distribute na 'yan sa Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, and all other parts of Visayas and Mindanao. Karamihan, ang iba pumasok din dito sa Metro Manila," he said.
(They also bring in drugs from Mindanao, that's why you will notice that drugs are a little cheaper there because they use Sulu Sea. The drugs come from either Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand—still the Golden Triangle group—and traveled to Zamboanga. From Zamboanga, it will be distributed to Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, and all other parts of Visayas and Mindanao. Most of the times, it also infiltrates Metro Manila.)
Aquino suspects the group operating in the Cavite warehouse is connected to the group behind the shabu laboratory in Ibaan, Batangas, where 4 Chinese nationals were arrested.
Apart from the 2 fatalities in the raid who were repacking the drugs when authorities descended on them, authorities are also eyeing 3 more Chinese persons of interest, he said.
One has returned to China and one is still in the Philippines. The other one was behind the contract between the group and the owner of the warehouse that was raided. They were all from the Fuijian province, south of Beijing, said Aquino.