MANILA - The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday started its preliminary investigation into a criminal complaint filed by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) against 8 individuals in connection with the P6.4-billion shabu shipment from China that slipped past the Manila port in May.
Respondents in the drug smuggling case are Hongfei Logistics Group of Companies chairman Chen Ju Long (aka "Richard Tan" or "Richard Chen"), detained businessman Dong Yi Shen aka "Kenneth Dong,” EMT Trading owner Eirene May Tatad, customs “fixer” Mark Ruben Taguba II, customs broker Teejay Marcellana, Li Guang Feng aka “Manny Li,” and Taiwanese nationals Chen Min and Jhu Ming Jyun.
Present at the hearing conducted by Assistant State Prosecutor Charlie Guhit were Dong, Li, and Tatad. Taguba and Marcellana were represented by their lawyer.
The illegal shipment, amounting to 602.279 kilos of “shabu,” arrived in the Philippines on May 15.
Customs and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) operatives seized the shipment at a Hongfei Logistics Warehouse in Valenzuela City on May 26 after receiving an “institutional tip” from Chinese customs officials.
In its complaint, the BOC alleged the shipment "was willfully, knowingly and unlawfully" smuggled through the country through fake Inward Foreign Manifests and Bill of Lading to make it appear that the shipment is legitimate.
The DOJ gave respondents up to Nov. 20 to submit their respective counter-affidavits and other defenses.
Respondents face separate similar complaints, now also under preliminary investigation, in connection with the illegal shipment.