Transshipment or decoy? PDEA eyes 2 angles in 'floating cocaine' probe

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 18 2019 09:44 AM | Updated as of Feb 18 2019 10:07 AM

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MANILA - Several "floating cocaine" packages recently seized in the Philippines may be part of a drug shipment to neighboring countries or a diversionary tactic for meth smuggling, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said Monday.

Some P200 million worth of cocaine was found on the shores of Siargao Island last Thursday. Several blocks of the drug were also netted in the shoreline of Dinagat Island and the sea off Camarines Norte in the same week.

Drug syndicates may be using the Philippines as a "transshipment point" for cocaine, which is repacked here before it is sent to Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and other nearby countries, said PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino. 

The floating cocaine packages, however, could have also been a diversionary tactic to smuggle tons of meth or shabu into the country, he said. 

"Once na magkaroon ng incident ng floating cocaine, lahat ng law enforcement naka-focus doon lahat e for retrieval and search," Aquino said in a DZMM interview. 

(Once there is an incident of floating cocaine, all law enforcement agencies would focus on its retrieval and operation.) 

"Parang isinasakripisyo, decoy na lang nilang ginagawa iyung floating cocaine, and eto nagkakaroon nga ng gap o vacuum iyung security ng ating karagatan. Doon ipinapasok ngayon mas malaking volume ng shabu," he added. 

(Syndicates seem to be sacrificing, making a decoy out of the floating cocaine, and this creates a gap or vacuum in the security of our seas, where a big volume of shabu is smuggled in.) 

Authorities have seized 13 floating cocaine packages since last year, Aquino said. All law enforcement agencies are coordinating for the assessment of the narcotic hauls, he added.