THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency yesterday said it recorded 35 cases of foiled smuggling of illegal drugs through mail and parcel services in 2018, a record 775 percent increase compared to the four incidents in 2017.
This is an indication that drug syndicates continue to transport illegal drugs into the Philippines through different methods including the use of mail and parcel courier services, said PDEA chair Director General Aaron N. Aquino.
The official said last year, they discovered 35 attempts to sneak in prohibited drugs into Manila and other parts of the country involving foreign express delivery and domestic courier services.
He said PDEA-led mail and parcel interdiction operations in airports and seaports in 2018 led to confiscation of 94.67 kilos of shabu, 16,713 pieces of ecstasy tablets, and 1,109.5 grams of marijuana Kush, a hybrid marijuana, with a total estimated market value of P672,161,877.88 as well as the arrests of consignees.
“Out of the interdiction operations conducted, 27 were interception of packages containing illegal drugs that originated from California, USA,” Aquino noted.
Aquino attributed the increase in the interception of drug-laden parcels to the enhanced capability of PDEA personnel to detect them.
PDEA agents assigned in airports and seaports have undergone X-ray cargo screening training conducted by the Office of the Transportation Security.
“They regularly conduct K9 sweeping and parcel screening on all cargo terminals nationwide,” Aquino said.
To stop drug smuggling using vulnerable seaports and airports across the country, the agency established three Airport Interdiction Units, three International Airport Inter-Agency Drug Interdiction Task Groups and 12 Seaport Interdiction Units in its regional offices.
Since 2015, the total estimated market value of illegal drugs concealed inside packages that were intercepted by PDEA with the support of local law enforcement agencies and foreign counterparts, amounted to P966.25 million.