THIRTY-FOUR more cocaine bricks were found floating in the waters of Tandag City in Surigao del Sur by two local fishermen early yesterday morning and were turned over to Caraga police director Chief Superintendent Gilbert DC Cruz.
Cruz said that “floating cocaine bricks” were spotted by fishermen Ronnie Navales and Ryan Apelon in Purok Santan in Barangay Bungtod, Tandag City around 6:30 a.m.
The two immediately called the attention of the local police which sent officers to retrieve the contraband.
Cruz said members of the Surigao del Sur Police Provincial Office led by Senior Supt. Francisco Dungo retrieved the drugs.
In the presence of Cruz and Tandag City Mayor Alexander Pimentel, an inventory of the contraband showed they are covered with plastic and had the “dollar sign” similar to the cocaine bricks found last week in Dinagat City.
“The latest recovery was made amid the massive information drive we have conducted to encourage local fishermen and other villagers to immediately report any suspicious bricks floating in the waters in exchange for a sack of rice per brick,” the Police Regional Office 13 said.
Navales and Apelon will receive a total of 33 sacks of rice after they reported the presence of cocaine bricks .
Philippine National Police spokesman Senior Supt. Bernard M. Banac said it was the 8th cocaine recovery since last February 10 .
The retrieved pieces of smuggled drugs were taken to the PRO13 headquarters for safekeeping and further examination.
PDEA chair, Director General Aaron N. Aquino earlier raised the possibility that the “floating cocaine” being recovered was a “diversionary trick” of drug syndicates to smuggle more illegal drugs into the country.
“The floating cocaine incidents are merely diversionary tactics. While all government forces are focused on operations to retrieve the floating cocaine, we believe drug syndicates may take the opportunity to smuggle shabu. They were willing to sacrifice P125 million worth of cocaine to smuggle P11.15 billion worth of shabu. It is because the Philippines is not a cocaine-consuming country. The number one drug of choice here is shabu,” Aquino said.
The PDEA chair said that “the country is just being a transshipment point for illegal drugs with international drug syndicates dumping cocaine in our waters considering the loose security in our vast and porous shorelines.”
“Cocaine is not a drug of choice here in the Philippines, but of countries like Australia, mainland China and Hongkong. While the government has reinforced anti-drug efforts in airports and seaports, drug syndicates have now resorted to ship side smuggling of illegal drugs through our unguarded coastlines,” the PDEA chief pointed out.