More floating cocaine found

FORTY more cocaine bricks worth around P200 million on Sunday were found by local fishermen floating in the waters off Surigao del Norte.

Police Regional Office 13 director Brig. Gen. Gilbert DC Cruz said the cocaine bricks wrapped in a fishnet were spotted by a group of fishermen in the waters off Burgos, Surigao del Norte at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.

The fishermen immediately reported their find to the Burgos Municipal Police Station headed by Capt. Carter Yamba.

According to Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chair Director General Aaron Aquino, an initial check showed that the cocaine bricks had the same markings discovered in the waters off Bgy. Pacifico in San Isidro, Surigao del Norte last February 17.

The cocaine bricks had the label “3B BUGATTI.

The illegal drugs were taken to the Burgos Police Station prior to their turnover to the Provincial Crime Laboratory.

A few days earlier, 48 bricks of cocaine were retrieved off the waters of Dinagat Island.

Both cocaine bricks found in Surigao and Dinagat Island had the same packaging labelled  “$.”

Authorities previously recovered a brick of cocaine washed ashore in Vinzon, Camarines Norte labelled  “LEXUS,” which was found to have a global positioning system (GPS)  device used by drug syndicates to locate the illegal drugs without difficulty.

Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said the nearly P1 billion worth of floating cocaine bricks found in the country’s eastern seaboards could have really been intended for shipment to Australia and not really destined for the Philippines as the latter is in the bottom list of cocaine-consuming countries across the globe.

Citing information provided by his Australian counterparts, the PNP chief said the cocaine bricks, which washed  ashore in the country’s eastern seaboard, appeared to have come somewhere in the Pacific Ocean and not for delivery to the Philippines.

The cocaine bricks were found in Dingalan, Aurora; Bgy. Villamanzano Norte in Perez, Quezon; Bgy. Bagumbayan in Paracale, Camarines Norte; Vinzons, Camarines Norte; Cagdianao, Dinagat Island; San Isidro, Surigao del Norte; Tandag City in Surigao del Sur; and Bgy. Santiago in Caraga, Davao Oriental.

Officials said the international drug cartels are rampantly using the Pacific Ocean as a smuggling route.

Aquino, meanwhile, raised the possibility that the floating cocaine was a “diversionary trick” of drug syndicates to smuggle more illegal drugs in the country.

“The floating cocaine were 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. With Zaida delos Reyes