Gordon calls on BOC to strengthen fight vs. new, sophisticated illegal drug trade

Published September 27, 2018, 3:28 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Mario Casayuran

Senator Richard J. Gordon on Thursday called on the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to fortify its arsenal as it battles a new level of war against the multi-billion-peso drug trade.

Gordon’s Senate Blue Ribbon Committee continued its probe into the P4.3-billion worth of ‘’shabu’’ (crystal meth) from two magnetic lifters inside an abandoned container van at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) and the suspected close to P6.8-billion worth of ‘’shabu’’ removed from four similar lifters in GMA, Cavite.

Senator Richard Gordon (Czar Dancel / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Richard Gordon

Gordon said his committee established during its Wednesday public hearing that the empty magnetic lifters delivered to the CRS Compound warehouse in Cavite contained illegal drugs.

‘’The war on drugs has taken a different tone, not only here but throughout the whole world. Yung mga droga na ito, pumapasok na ngayon (drugs coming into the country are done) through heavy equipment at more sophisticated. We are fighting a new war and we have to have new weapons,” he said.

Gordon came to the conclusion that the lifters in Cavite contained ‘’shabu’’ after the warehouse caretaker testified that the seven Chinese, including the two who rented the property, stayed locked inside the warehouse for four hours before leaving on board a black Toyota Rav4 that they parked inside.

He said the caretaker testified that he was asked to turn on the lights after the lifters had been placed inside the warehouse before he was instructed to close the door of the warehouse and leave.

As the caretaker was closing the door he saw one of the Chinese men holding a grinder approached one of the lifters. Curious to see what the men were about to do, the caretaker tried to search for a hole in the walls to look in. However, he was prompted to stop. for fear of being caught, after two of the men came out, he pointed out.

When the news about the seized ‘’shabu’’ at the MICP broke out, the caretaker reported to warehouse owner Vicenta Conteprate that forklift operator Angelo Ramilo informed him that the magnetic lifters inside the warehouse were allegedly containers for ‘’shabu’’ because the containers were similar to the ones Ramilo saw on the news. Afterward, Conteprate went to the barangay officials to report.

Gordon said he was able to also establish that the magnetic lifters were shipped into the country to conceal smuggled drugs and not for their industrial functions and pointed to the need to train BOC personnel further on how to identify shipments containing contrabands like illegal drugs.

“Ang mga pumapasok na droga ngayon, mas matitindi. Talagang pinag-aaralan na kung paano itatago yung droga. Kaya dapat magtraining ang mga BOC personnel, lalo na ang mga x-ray technicians sa iba’t ibang bansa para matutunan nila ang mga bagong modus operanding ginagamit sa pag-smuggle ng shabu,” he said. (Drugs coming into the country are getting sophisticated. The drug smugglers know how to hide the drugs. That is why BOC personnel should be trained abroad, particularly the X-Ray technicians, to beat the illegal drug smugglers.)

He earlier said that the X-ray machines bought in 2006 were over-priced by as much as P4 billion.