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Our continuing fight vs the scourge of drugs



LATE last month, the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) issued a warning to its member nations against various methods that have been used lately to transport illegal drugs in a number of countries.

It said drones – unmanned aerial systems – are being used with increasing frequency to deliver drugs into prisons where, it seems, the drug trade is flourishing in many countries. The drugs are placed inside various items such as tennis balls and juice cartons.

Interpol reported drugs smuggling at the international airport at Cape Verde involving the use of condoms filled with liquid cocaine and then hidden in women’s bras.

In Australia, 11 consignments of various items listed as “decorative bulbs” and “craft materials” from the United Kingdom under the system of “resender parcel services” to hide the real country of origin of the drugs. The shipments contained opium which could only have come from poppy-growing countries in Asia.

Interpol also reported a number of incidents involving heroin smuggled into beaches in Yemen and other countries on the Red Sea, apparently brought in by small fishing boats, then transported by land to Egypt.

We have had our own cases of smuggling of drugs in the Philippines, such as the shabu hidden inside magnetic lifters later abandoned at the Manila International Container Port. More recently, many cocaine packages have been found floating in Philippine waters, causing President Duterte to warn that the Medelin drug cartel of Colombia may have begun cocaine trafficking operations in our country.

The police had earlier suspected that the floating cocaine packages may have been meant for Australia, as Filipino drug addicts favor relatively cheap shabu, rather than cocaine, which is processed from the Coca plant abundant in South America and is the most common drug favored by addicts in the United States. But so many floating packages have already been found all over our islands – from Aurora to the Dinagat Islands to Surigao del Sur to Davao Oriental – that it is unlikely that the cocaine was meant for Australia.

The drug problem has truly spread all over the world as shown by the Interpol report warning member nations about various new ways drugs are now being smuggled into various countries and within various sites in those countries.

We in the Philippines have long been engaged in an all-out war on drugs. President Duterte initially thought he could stop the spread of drugs in a matter of months, but now he says it will take years, so big and so widespread the problem has become. We will learn from the findings of the Interpol in other countries and we will carry on with our own unrelenting campaign against this national scourge of illegal drugs.