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Immigration operatives at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) intercepted yesterday a 22-year-old Filipino who attempted to smuggle almost five kilos of cocaine into the country worth more than P25 million.
Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente identified the suspected drug mule as Jon-Jon Villamin Jr. who was apprehended with the illegal drugs minutes after he arrived at the NAIA 3 terminal from Dubai.
Morente said BI agents from the bureau’s border monitoring security unit (BMSU) had waited for Villamin to show up at the immigration arrival area hours before Emirates flight EK 332 arrived at around 4:30 p.m.
He disclosed that after Villamin was cleared at the immigration counter, the BI personnel relayed his arrival to members of the NAIA drug interdiction task group who were also waiting to apprehend him.
The task group members followed Villamin as he went to the carousel to get his check-in baggage after which they accosted the suspect and invited him for questioning at the Customs office.
It was upon inspecting his baggage that authorities discovered the cocaine in his possession, Morente said.
Villamin allegedly denied knowing that he had cocaine in his luggage, saying it was given to him by a Brazilian friend who promised to call and instruct him where to bring the luggage upon his arrival in Manila.
BI Intelligence Chief Police Director Charles Calima (Ret.) said that BI intelligence officer Bienvenido Castillo III, Deputy Chief. BMSU and his colleague Galo Robediso VI were tipped about the drug suspect by members of the task group three hours before his flight arrived.
He narrated that after Castillo and Robediso saw Villamin enter the immigration area, they alerted the immigration supervisor on duty that the suspect had been positively identified.
Calima said the immigration officer who processed Villamin then stood up as a cue to members of the task group that the passenger he had just cleared was the suspect that they had been waiting for. (Jun Ramirez)