THE volume of shabu seized by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency from January to March this year will go on record as the biggest in the agency’s nearly 17-year history, officials said yesterday.
According to PDEA Chair Director General Aaron N. Aquino, they have posted the highest volume of illegal drugs seized in any first quarter of the year since the PDEA was established on July 7, 2002 to be the lead government agency tasked to enforce Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Aquino said that during the first quarter of 2019, the Agency seized a total of 776.06 kilos of shabu worth P5.27 billion surpassing the combined seizure of 672.42 kilos of shabu worth P4.58 billion from the first quarters of 2009 to 2018 by 103.64 kilos with a market value of P704,752,000.
“This is the highest recorded shabu seizure for the first three months of the year in PDEA history. It also more than doubled compared to the second highest first quarter seizure which was recorded in 2015 with 314.47 kilos worth P2.14 billion,” the PDEA chair said.
Aquino said the record seizure of shabu during the period is the result of the series of bulk volume of shabu seizure in Cavite, Muntinlupa and Manila wherein a total of 716 kilos worth billions of pesos were seized.
The PDEA chief said that the 2,034 anti-drug operations conducted and 2,818 drug personalities arrested by PDEA for the period are also the highest since 2009. “This is an increase of 76.10 percent and 72.35 percent, respectively, compared to the same period in 2018,” Aquino said.
“This volume of seizures is an indication that we are conducting high-impact operation and hitting high-value targets,” he explained.
Aquino said they are also focused on the implementation of anti-drug advocacies such as Balay Silangan, for surrendered drug personalities, and Sagip Batang Solvent for children hooked on illegal drugs.
He cited the strengthened cooperation, collaboration and coordination by PDEA with its foreign counterparts as a key in the record volume of shabu seized so far this year.
He also underscored the exchange of intelligence information between the PDEA and its foreign counterparts from the United States, China, Taiwan, Vietnam and other Asian countries.
Last March 22, PDEA agents seized an estimated P1.8 billion worth of shabu believed to have been smuggled from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam by an international drug syndicate at the Manila International Container Port.
According to the PDEA Chair, the information on the big volume of smuggled shabu came from their foreign counterparts which said the drugs were onboard Callo Bridge (14E), a cargo ship which would arrive at the MICP from Ho Chi Minh City.