Major Drug Bust: P238.2 Million Worth of Marijuana Found in Balikbayan Boxes at Manila International Container Port

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The Bureau of Customs Intercepts P238.2 Million Worth of Marijuana Hidden in Balikbayan Boxes

The Bureau of Customs (BoC) recently made a significant seizure, intercepting P238.2 million worth of dried marijuana, also known as kush, concealed inside several balikbayan boxes from Thailand at the Manila International Container Port (MICP). This operation was a result of the prompt response and collaboration between the BoC and various government agencies.

The Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) Director Verne Enciso revealed that the discovery was made during a 100 percent examination of 12 separate balikbayan boxes. The examination was conducted based on derogatory information received by the CIIS-MICP. The shipment, initially declared as consolidated balikbayan boxes and personal effects, was found to contain hundreds of kilos of marijuana.

The thorough examination of the shipment was carried out by the assigned Customs examiner, with the presence of witnesses from the CIIS, Enforcement and Security Service, Customs Anti-Illegal Drug Task Force, Philippine Coast Guard, Environmental Protection and Compliance Division, Office of the District Collector, and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

Cooperation and Collaboration Lead to Successful Operation

Customs Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio credited the success of the operation to the cooperation of key government agencies and the valuable information provided by the bureau’s well-placed sources. Without their collaboration, this interception would not have been possible.

The intercepted balikbayan boxes were consigned to different individuals. Five boxes were consigned to Gerard Cruz and Erika Cruz, containing 126 packages of marijuana weighing a total of 65,000 grams, with an estimated value of P78 million. Another batch of five boxes were consigned to BKKCHCF SHN, and they contained 138 packages of marijuana weighing approximately 70,000 grams, valued at around P84 million.

In addition, two balikbayan boxes consigned to Jonathan/Francis Ayala were found to have marijuana concealed in food packages and blankets. The total weight of the marijuana in these boxes was 63,500 grams, with an estimated value of P76.2 million.

Deputy Commissioner Juvymax Uy of the Intelligence Group emphasized that the boxes of marijuana were carefully hidden inside the container, which was then padlocked and sealed. The container will remain in the custody of the BoC until a full inventory is conducted and it can be turned over to the PDEA.

Conclusion

The interception of P238.2 million worth of marijuana hidden in balikbayan boxes is a significant accomplishment for the Bureau of Customs. This operation demonstrates the bureau’s commitment to combating illegal drug trafficking and its dedication to working with other government agencies to ensure the safety and security of the country.

By intercepting these illegal drugs, the BoC has successfully prevented them from reaching the streets and potentially causing harm to individuals and communities. This operation serves as a reminder that the Bureau of Customs remains vigilant in its efforts to protect the country from the illegal drug trade.

It is crucial for government agencies to continue collaborating and sharing information to effectively combat drug smuggling and other illicit activities. The success of this operation highlights the importance of international cooperation in addressing transnational crimes.

Through the dedication and expertise of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service, Enforcement and Security Service, and other key agencies involved, the Bureau of Customs has once again demonstrated its commitment to upholding the law and maintaining the integrity of the country’s borders.

Source: The Manila Times

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