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BoC probes entry of P360-M shabu

By: BETHEENA KAE UNITE

The Bureau of Customs (BoC) is looking into the possibility that the P360-million shabu seized in Las Piñas City on Wednesday might have entered the country through its ports.

Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon on Thursday has ordered the heads of all 17 ports under the BoC to conduct an investigation on the matter.

Faeldon said the drugs might have entered the country through the ports of Zamboanga and Cebu, however, “evidence has yet to show that the seized 72 kilos of shabu indeed passed through the said seaports.”

With this, Faeldon said the BoC would closely coordinate with the Philippine National Police – Drug Enforcement Group to establish whether the suspects were engaged in importation of goods.

Prior to this case, the BoC was investigating the shipment of the 605 kilos of shabu seized in Valenzuela City in May.

It can be recalled that the BoC found out that the shipment containing the second largest drug haul ever recorded in the Philippines entered the country from China through the “green lane” or “fast lane” of the BoC.

Faeldon further said that BoC agents have long been closely guarding the ports and on the lookout for any questionable activities.

According to the bureau, the stricter border enforcement has resulted in the confiscation of a fishing vessel in Subic in July 2016 where a hydrogenator, which is used in the manufacture of illegal drugs, was uncovered.

In February 2017, agents seized P3 million worth of hydrochloric acid, which is used in manufacturing drugs, in the port of Cagayan de Oro.

Controlled chemicals that is also used in production of illegal drugs worth P600,000 were also seized by the bureau in Aparri last May.

To ensure that all shipments coming into the country are legitimate and do not conceal any prohibited items, the BoC currently uses available though limited resources, the Customs Commissioner bared.

He further said that upgrading the BOC facilities has remained among the bureau’s top priorities.

Currently, the bureau is procuring additional x-ray machines and speedboats to improve its capability in guarding the ports.

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