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BOC Intel Group leads in apprehension of P3.8 billion shabu in Subic

2nd biggest drug haul thus far under PBBM administration

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PHILIPPINE law enforcement agencies headed by the Intelligence Group of the Bureau of Customs last September 27, 2023, intercepted another attempt to smuggle a huge volume of methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) into the country at the Port of Subic worth more than P3.8 billion.

Acting on the intelligence information provided by the BOC Intelligence Group headed by Deputy Commissioner Juvymax Uy, Port of Subic district collector Ciriaco Ugay said that as early as September 21, he had already issued an ‘PLCO’ (pre-lodgement control order) against the shipment inside a 1X40-footer van that purportedly originated from Thailand and said to contain 881 bags of “animal feed.”

A highly-placed source at the BOC identified the consignee as ‘LOCAR Trading,’ adding it was a “first timer” in the import/trading business.

When the shipment was finally opened on September 27 at a warehouse in Mexico, Pampanga in the presence of representatives from the BOC, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Department of Justice (DOJ) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), they discovered some 59 brown boxes containing 530 kilos of shabu with each pack of 1-kilo wrapped in red and golden tea packs.

The contrabands have been mixed with bags of ‘chicharon’ and dog foods, other mainstream media reported, in an effort to hide detection.

Since the Aquino administration (2010 – 2016), Philippine authorities have been regularly seizing bigger and bigger volume of shabu brought in by the syndicate. Apparently, however, the syndicate’s operation here is yet to get the serious attention of the authorities, given the fact that in the ongoing international effort to bring down Sam Gor, the Philippines has not been cited as a participant.

The packaging again indicated that the shipment was organized by the ‘Sam Gor’ (The Company) Drug Syndicate, which is the world’s biggest supplier of shabu and other illegal drugs. The Syndicate, composed of 5 major Chinese ‘Triads,’ has its ‘factories’ located in the so-called ‘Golden Triangle,’ the border areas between Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos.

Since the Aquino administration (2010 – 2016), Philippine authorities have been regularly seizing bigger and bigger volume of shabu brought in by the syndicate. Apparently, however, the syndicate’s operation here is yet to get the serious attention of the authorities, given the fact that in the ongoing international effort to bring down Sam Gor, the Philippines has not been cited as a participant.

Second biggest seizure under PBBM

The operation at the Subic Port would be the second biggest drug seizure under the Marcos administration following the 990 kilos of shabu worth P6.7 billion seized in Manila last October 9, 2022, and which also involved some members of the Philippine National Police.

It would also be the second biggest drug haul for the BOC after the seizure of 400 kilos of shabu worth P2.7 billion in Pangasinan and La Union last August 12, 2022 (see link here).

Following this, the BOC last March 20, 2023, also intercepted a shipment of shabu worth P400 million at the Port of NAIA from West Africa, its biggest seizure of illegal drugs to date at the point of entry (see link here).

Except for the apprehension at the NAIA, all multi-billion drug seizures in the country over the last decade have been traced to the Sam Gor Drug Syndicate as the source.

Port of Subic should be under tight watch

Reacting on the drug seizure at the Port of Subic, Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said the Port of Subic should be placed “under a tight watch.”

“We have to watch Subic. Subic is hot today. Actually, Subic has been pinpointed as the source of agricultural smuggling.

“It is also pinpointed as the source of many other kinds of smuggling in the country,” Remulla said in a meeting with the press the day after the drug seizure.

Remulla also directed the NBI to lead the investigation of the shabu shipment at Subic while conceding that there was “foreign involvement” in the foiled smuggling attempt.

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