PDEA: Drug syndicates using dating websites

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 16 2012 12:09 AM | Updated as of Mar 16 2012 08:13 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Authorities on Thursday warned Filipinas joining dating websites against African drug syndicates who may be using them in their operations.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said the networks of African drug syndicates are widening due to the number of Filipinas who participate in online dating.

“Pag nag-asawa sila, nagiging recruiters na din sila. ‘Yung mga dating couriers, nag-elevate sila nagiging recruiters sila,” said PDEA Director Jeoffrey Tacio.

One Filipina, "Alicia" (not her real name) joined dating websites to find a boyfriend who's a foreigner.

This is how she met her African boyfriend.

“Nagkita kami, na-in love ako sa kanya kasi mabait din siya eh,” she said.

The foreigner told Alicia that he makes independent films in the Philippines that's why she never suspected that he's a member of a drug syndicate.

Alicia’s boyfriend has been arrested on charges of drug trafficking.

While in jail, he instructed Alicia to get a suitcase from another African who just arrived in the Philippines.

Alicia said she didn't know that the suitcase contained kilos of shabu.

PDEA officials have filed charges against her.

Alicia offered an advice to women like her looking for love online.

“Mag-ingat na po kasi sa una hindi mo sila makilala. Mag-ingat lang,” she said.

According to PDEA, 33 members of African drug syndicates have been arrested from 2010 to March this year.

Just last Wednesday, a Filipino was arrested after taking luggage containing shabu from a couple from Ghana.

The Africans were also apprehended. -- Reports from Gretchen Malalad, ABS-CBN News; ANC