Our continuing fight vs the scourge of drugs

Published March 8, 2019, 12:39 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza & Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

e-cartoon-mar-8-2019Late last month, the International  Criminal  Police Organization  (Interpol)  issued  a warning to its member nations against  various methods  that have been used  lately to transport illegal drugs in a number of countries.

It said drones  — unmanned aerial systems —  are being used with increasing  frequency to deliver drugs into prisons where, it  seems, the drug trade is flourishing  in many countries.  The drugs  are  placed inside various items  such as tennis balls and juice cartons.

Interpol  reported  drugs smuggling at the international airport  at Cape Verde involving the use of condoms filled with liquid cocaine and then hidden in women’s bras.

 In Australia, 11 consignments of various items listed as “decorative bulbs”  and “craft materials” from the United Kingdom under the system of “resender parcel services”  to hide the real country of origin of the drugs. The shipments  contained  opium  which could only have come from  poppy-growing countries in Asia.

Interpol   also reported a number of  incidents  involving  heroin  smuggled into beaches  in  Yemen and other countries on the Red Sea, apparently brought in by small fishing boats, then  transported by land  to Egypt.

We have had our  own cases of smuggling of drugs  in the Philippines, such as the  shabu  hidden  inside magnetic lifters later abandoned at the Manila International Container Port. More recently, many cocaine packages have been  found floating in  Philippine waters, causing President Duterte to warn that  the Medelin drug cartel of Colombia may have begun cocaine trafficking operations in our country.

The police had earlier suspected that  the  floating  cocaine packages may have been meant for Australia,  as Filipino drug addicts favor relatively  cheap shabu,  rather than cocaine, which is processed from the Coca plant  abundant in South America and is the most common drug favored by addicts in the United States. But so many floating packages have already been found all over our islands – from Aurora to the Dinagat Islands to Surigao del Sur to Davao Oriental —  that it is unlikely that the cocaine was meant for  Australia.

The drug problem has truly spread all over  the world as shown by the Interpol report warning member nations about various new ways drugs are now being smuggled into various countries and within various sites in those countries.

We in the Philippines have long been engaged  in  an  all-out war on drugs. President Duterte initially thought he could stop  the spread of drugs in a matter of months, but now he says it will take years, so big and so widespread the problem has become. We will learn  from the findings of the Interpol in other countries and we will carry on with our  own  unrelenting  campaign against this  national   scourge of illegal drugs.