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P7.5-M ecstasy seized in Manila Post Office

The Bureau of Customs (BoC) is tracking down the people behind the shipment of around 5,000 tablets of ecstasy worth P7.5 million and five amphetamine blocks that were intercepted at the Manila Central Post Office last July.

Deputy Commissioner Arnel Alcaraz of the BoC Enforcement Group (EG) said the illegal drugs contained in five parcels were detected by their K9 unit.

The Customs Anti-Illegal Drugs Task Force (CAIDTF) under the BOC-EG, the Port of Manila Collection District, and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) intercepted the contraband.

“Pina-test doon sa K9 and inupuan na nung aso so nag-positive. We get samples, pinatest and the chemical analysis showed na illegal drugs siya,” Alcaraz said when he presented the seized drugs to the media yesterday.

According to Alcaraz, the illegal were drugs found inside five parcels – three consigned to a certain Don Arnold and two consigned to a certain Martin Domingo – which were originally declared as toys from the Netherlands. He said they have received information about the shipment but refused to divulge further information.

BoC said authorities were waiting for the consignees to claim the parcel for them to be arrested, but they did not show up.

Alcaraz said follow-up operations and investigation are being conducted by the BoC and PDEA.

The Customs official said the modus of the drug syndicates is to order illegal drugs online using fake identity, utilizing bitcoins as payment, and coursing the transit of said parcels via the Philippine Postal (PhilPost) service.

“Lahat ng parcel natin via airmail, bumabagsak sa central mail exchange sa airport, then ipapadala ‘yan sa respective post offices kung saan naka-consign,” he said.

According to PDEA Assistant Regional Director Christian Frivaldo, the smuggled drugs were most likely intended for consumption of young high-end users.

“Ito ay intended talaga as party drugs,” he said.

The amphetamine found in one of the parcels is classified as dangerous drugs under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Drugs Act of 2002. The importation of such type of drugs requires prior import permit (S 5-1) from PDEA.

Alcaraz said the five blocks of amphetamine when processed can turn into tens of thousands of amphetamine that can be sold, adding that 0.1 gram of amphetamine is enough to make ecstasy tablets.

However, Frivaldo said it is still too early to tell if the interception is connected with the arrested pharmacist in Mandaluyong who sold party drugs in high-end bars and clubs.

“We are trying to exhaust all information so we can establish connections but for now, we can’t really disclose anything because it is still an ongoing investigation,” he said. (ARGYLL CYRUS B. GEDUCOS)