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BOC scores fourth major drug bust under Rubio

PIAD apologizes for near snafu during media presentation

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THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) under Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio continues to play its vital role in the fight against illegal drugs with its fourth apprehension of another major shipment of methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu), this time at the Manila International Container Port.

At a media presentation on October 6, 2023, BOC officials, together with officials from the Philippine National Police (PNP), Drug Enforcement Group (PDEG), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), announced the seizure of 324 kilos of shabu worth some P2.19 billion.

The illegal drugs were found loaded inside a 1X40-footer van from Mexico mixed with a shipment of ‘laminated beef jerky’ and ‘carne seca.’

Retired Philippine Army 2-star general, Juvymax Uy, BOC Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence, identified to Pinoy Exposé the shipper as ‘Logistica Integral Aduanal Meyma’ of Mexico and the consignee as ‘Salesbeat Within OPC.’

A quick check thru Googles search engine showed that Logistical Aduanal is a customs brokerage/forwarding company that has two offices based in Mexico City.

Mexico has long been considered a ‘Narco State’ and the base of operations of some of the world’s biggest drug cartels.

BOC records showed that the shipment, under container number UACU8567810, has been pending at the MICP since its arrival last February 24, 2023.

Uy also bared that since then, the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) has been monitoring the cargo on suspicion that it contains illegal drugs.

However, despite the considerable lapse of time, no goods declaration was filed for the shipment.

Last September 29, the BOC decided to act, with the MICP-CIIS Field Office under Alvin Enciso asking District Collector Romeo Rosales to issue an ‘PLCO’ (pre-lodgment control order) against the shipment.

On October 4, 2023, pursuant to the PLCO issued by Rosales 2 days previously, the shipment was finally opened in the presence of operatives from the CIIS, PDEA, Customs Anti-Illegal Drug Task Force (CAIDTF), BOC-X-Ray Inspection Project (BOC-XIP), PNP-PDEG, PCG BOC-Enforcement and Security Service (BOC-ESS) and the Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc. (CCBI) that confirmed the presence of the 1,109 pieces of illegal drugs placed inside 450 brown corrugated boxes each carefully wrapped in carbon paper.

Uy, a grizzled intelligence officer who also once served as the head of the Philippine Army’s Intelligence Service Group (ISG), said they have already identified at least one ‘person of interest’ (POI) possibly involved in the foiled smuggling attempt.

Fourth major apprehension

The discovery of the shabu shipment at the MICP would be the third biggest apprehension thus far under the Marcos administration.

The discovery of the shabu shipment at the MICP would be the third biggest apprehension thus far under the Marcos administration. It would also be the fourth biggest apprehension of illegal drugs participated in, or headed by, the BOC under Commissioner Rubio.

It would also be the fourth biggest apprehension of illegal drugs participated in, or headed by, the BOC under Commissioner Rubio.

Rubio is himself a career customs intelligence officer before his appointment to the top customs post last February.

Last September 27, 2023, the government, thru the combined efforts of the BOC-IG and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) seized a shipment of 530 kilos of shabu from Thailand worth P3.8 billion at the Port of Subic (see link here).

Last March, the BOC X-Ray Inspection Project (XIP) then under Atty. Lourdes Mangaoang, uncovered a shipment of shabu from West Africa worth more than P400 million (see link here).

Last October 9, 2022, 990 kilos of shabu worth P6.7 billion were seized in Manila and which also involved some members of the Philippine National Police.

Before this, last August 12, 2022, 400 kilos of shabu worth P2.7 billion were also seized by government operatives with the participation of the BOC-IG in Pangasinan and La Union (see link here).

Uy said the successful interdiction operation at the MICP is not only a coordinated response by government agencies to the call of President Marcos but also, the BOC’s “fulfillment” of its mandate to protect the country’s borders “and ensure the security of all ports of entry.”

BOC-PIAD apologizes for near snafu during media presentation

Meanwhile, the BOC’s Public Information and Assistance Division (PIAD) apologized to the members of the press for the near snafu that attended the presentation of the seized shabu at the MICP.

“We extend our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused during the recent event.

“We understand that the strict security policies of the ICTSI (MICP arrastre operator) including the requirement for hard hats and vests, may have caused challenges.

“Due to the number of officials and employees attending in the press conference, the MICP has allotted these safety items for their utilization, and necessitating the media personnel to bring their own.

“The delay in presenting the evidence was regrettably unavoidable due to the participation of multiple agencies in the event.

“Initiating the event without the presence of all involved agencies would not have been feasible. “We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in complying with safety protocols and look forward to smoother processes in the future,” the PIAD statement said.

Members of the press who covered the presentation had complained of their being made to wait for more than 5 hours before the contraband was presented that jeopardized their own story deadlines.

They also complained of having to “rent” the hard hats and vests they have wear as part of the ICTSI’s safety protocol.

These incidents made some of those present to feel resentment, alleging they have been shabbily treated by the PIAD.

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