PDEA field test shows 34 blocks were made of cocaine
MANILA - (UPDATED) Thirty-four bricks of suspected cocaine worth an estimated P230 million were netted from the waters off Tandag, Surigao Del Sur on Sunday, police said.
Two fishermen found the drug haul floating inside a black plastic bag at sea in Barangay Bongtud around 6 a.m., said Caraga police director Chief Supt. Gilbert Cruz.
The fishermen knew of similar "floating cocaine" packages seized in other provinces, prompting them to immediately report what they found to authorities.
Dollar signs were later seen stamped on the 34 suspected cocaine bricks, said Cruz.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) conducted a field test on the recovered bricks.
The test showed the bricks were indeed made out of cocaine.
Some P200 million worth of cocaine was found on the shores of Siargao Island earlier this month. Several bricks of the drug were also netted in the shorelines of Dinagat Island and Quezon province, and the sea off Camarines Norte.
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.
Authorities earlier promised a sack of rice or P12,000 for every brick of floating cocaine that the public will surrender.
-- Report from Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News