P238.2M Marijuana Haul Seized from Balikbayan Boxes at Manila International Container Port

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

The Bureau of Customs (BoC) in the Philippines has made a significant drug seizure, intercepting an estimated P238.2 million worth of dried marijuana or kush hidden inside several balikbayan boxes from Thailand. The operation took place at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) and involved the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS).

A Thorough Examination and Cooperation Among Government Agencies

According to CIIS Director Verne Enciso, the discovery was made following a “derogatory information” received by the CIIS-MICP. As a result, 12 separate balikbayan boxes were subjected to 100 percent examination. Enciso commended the prompt response of the Office of the District Collector (ODC) in apprehending the shipment and processing it for a thorough examination.

During the examination, hundreds of kilos of marijuana were found in a shipment that was originally declared as consolidated balikbayan boxes and personal effects. The physical examination was conducted by the assigned Customs examiner and witnessed by various government agencies, including the CIIS, Enforcement and Security Service (ESS), Customs Anti-Illegal Drug Task Force (CAIDTF), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Environmental Protection and Compliance Division (EPCD), ODC, and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

Customs Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio acknowledged the cooperation of these key government agencies and the bureau’s well-placed sources, emphasizing that the successful operation would not have been possible without their support.

The Details of the Seized Marijuana

The intercepted shipment contained a total of 327 packages of marijuana, spread across different consignees. Five balikbayan boxes consigned to Gerard Cruz and Erika Cruz were found to contain 126 packages of marijuana, weighing a total of 65,000 grams and with an estimated value of P78 million.

Another batch of five balikbayan boxes, consigned to BKKCHCF SHN, was discovered with 138 packages of marijuana. The total weight of the drugs was approximately 70,000 grams, valued at around P84 million.

Additionally, 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.

Ensuring the Safety and Proper Handling of the Seized Drugs

Deputy Commissioner Juvymax Uy of the Intelligence Group emphasized the importance of securing the seized drugs. The boxes of marijuana were brought back inside a container, which was then padlocked and sealed. The container will be kept in safekeeping by the Bureau of Customs until a full inventory is conducted and the turnover to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) takes place.

This significant interception by the Bureau of Customs highlights the ongoing efforts to combat illegal drug trafficking in the Philippines. The cooperation among various government agencies and the thorough examination of shipments demonstrate the commitment to ensuring the safety and security of the country.

Source: The Manila Times

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