By Antonio Colina IV
DAVAO CITY – The 39 bricks of cocaine worth P215 million recovered off the coast of Barangay Santiago in Caraga town, Davao Oriental on Sunday will be destroyed this week, Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 11 director Antonio E. Rivera said.
Rivera said in an interview at the sidelines of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) – Philippine National Police (PNP) press briefing on Wednesday here that the recovered illegal drugs were supposed to be destroyed within 72 hours, but added they were still waiting for the go signal from PDEA Director General Aaron N. Aquino.
He said authorities were still investigating the individuals behind the dumping of the cocaine off the shores of Caraga, but they suspected that a Colombian drug cartel is behind it.
“Who are the countries producing this stuff? Colombia, South American countries. We assumed it came from them. They are the origin. The main ingredient is coca plant, which grows in South America,” he said, adding that another drug cartel from Mexico, Sinaloa, could also be behind it.
Rivera said they were still looking at the possibility that the drugs might have been dropped at the high sea and had been blown to the shores in Caraga before villagers discovered them.
“Another thing is, it could be a diversionary (tactic), they intentionally dropped it so that our focus would on the east part of the country, and somewhere else, they would sneak in huge amounts of drugs or shabu,” he said.
He added it was also possible that the seized illegal drugs were supposed to be delivered to other countries with Philippines as the transshipment hub, claiming that cocaine was not as prevalent as shabu in the in the country because it’s expensive.
“That’s the subject of our investigation now to know who are behind this and who are the recipients of the cocaine,” he said.