By Martin Sadongdong
Fishermen have recovered at least 40 bricks of suspected cocaine worth P212 million within the municipal waters of Burgos, Surigao del Norte on Sunday afternoon in yet another big drug haul in the eastern seaboard of the country, police reported Monday.
COCAINE HAUL – Police officials check on the estimated P257.4 million worth of suspected cocaine bricks found by fishermen along the shores of Burgos, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte, late Sunday afternoon. Last February, at least 12 discoveries of cocaine bricks were reported to police, while another discovery was reported in Baler, Aurora, last month. (Contributed by PNP-PRO 13)
A report from the Caraga Police Regional Office (PRO-13) said the suspected cocaine bricks were discovered by the fishermen Alvin and Abundio Dumanjog, and Rodulfo Romeo around 4:30 p.m.
The bricks were sealed in transparent plastic and wrapped with a fishnet, police said.
The bricks were found floating on the sea about two kilometers from the shoreline, the police said.
The bricks weighed around 40 kilos, sealed with rubberized black cellophane plastic and wrapped with a black fishnet, the police added.
The discovery was then reported to the members of Burgos Municipal Police Station (MPS) who conducted an ocular inspection of the contraband.
It was found that the packaging of the bricks bore "3B Bugatti" markings, similar to the markings found on the packaging of 40 bricks discovered by the locals in San Isidro, Surigao del Norte on February 14 and 15.
Authorities have yet to determine the total weight and the street value of the discovered bricks.
The bricks were turned over to the Provincial Crime Laboratory Office (PCLO), the Caraga police said.
The discovery of the suspected cocaine bricks was the latest in a series of floating cocaine recoveries in the country.
In February 2019 alone, at least 12 discoveries of floating cocaine were reported to the police.
During the said period, around 872 kilos of cocaine worth P872 million were found, said Police Colonel Bernard Banac, PNP spokesperson, in a previous interview.
The discoveries were in Camarines Norte (February 10, 11); Dinagat Islands (February 12); Surigao del Norte (February 14, 15); Camarines Norte (February 16); Quezon province (February 17, 18); Nueva Ecija (February 24); Surigao del Norte (February 24); and Davao Oriental (February 24, 25).
Another discovery was reported to police on March 2 when a brick of cocaine was found in Baler, Aurora.
Last year, at least four discoveries were noted by the police.
Earlier, Police General Oscar Albayalde, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, raised the possibility that the Philippines has become a transshipment point of cocaine by big drug syndicates.
He said in previous interviews that the recovered bricks may have been connected to the found 500 kilos of cocaine blocks in Papua New Guinea in 2018.
To address this issue, Albayalde had said the PNP has programmed in its budget floating and flying assets worth more than P1.134 billion to guard the country's 36,000-kilometer coastline.