Drugs from recent busts match drugs seized from Manila port magnetic lifters

Angel Movido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 19 2018 05:47 PM

Members of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) guard a customized cylindrical steel case filled with 500 kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) amounting to P3.4 billion on Aug. 7, 2018. ABS-CBN News

MANILA- Illegal drugs seized from the Manila International Container Port (MICP) last August matched samples from recent drug busts of the Phillippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), an official said.

PDEA Chief Aaron Aquino said laboratory test results conducted last Aug. 1 in Quezon City, Aug. 26 in Sta Cruz in Manila, and Oct. 1 in Muntinlupa City showed strong similarity to drugs seized from the Manila port.

"Match sila. Highly co-related, similar. Ibig sabihin, iisa ang source (it means there is only one source)."

Last Aug.7, the anti-drug agency and the Bureau of Customs seized around 500 kilos of "shabu" concealed in two magnetic lifters at the Manila port.

Three days later, PDEA discovered P6.8 billion of shabu in GMA, Cavite where they were greeted with four empty magnetic lifters. 

Aquino also claimed that drugs that slipped past the Manila port are now being sold in the streets, noting that he has received reports that the same kind of drugs is already being peddled prior to the August bust.

The PDEA chief earlier reported that following the magnetic lifters incident, shabu sold in the streets is now priced at P1,400 to P1,800 per gram, far from the P6,800 to P8,000 per gram in July.

An ABS-CBN News source said former PDEA Deputy Director for Administration Ismael Fajardo received a text message about the alleged illegal drug shipment.

Aquino meanwhile said former Customs Intelligence officer Jimmy Guban and Fajardo still stand by their claim that they only received raw information last July 2. 

Duterte earlier this month released a drug matrix where he linked 5 active police officials and 2 former officers to the drug trade.

Among those named were supposed drug ring leader Senior Superintendent Eduardo Acierto, Senior Superintendent Leonardo Suan, Superintendent Lorenzo Bacia, Inspector Lito Pirote, Inspector Conrado Caragdag, and SPO4 Alejandro Liwana.

The PDEA chief clarified that the President's drug matrix did not come from their agency but noted that he believes in the chief executive.

"Hindi galing sa amin yung drug matrix na yun, really don't know where it came from, kung sinong ahensya or sinong tao na nagbigay kay Presidente. But again, I believe tama yung kanyang drug matrix," Aquino said.

(The drug matrix did not come from us. We really don't know where it came from, what agency or who gave it to the President. But again, I believe his drug matrix is correct.)

In a statement Thursday, Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña said there is obvious failure of intelligence or lack of coordination among member agencies under Aquino’s leadership.

Aquino however dismissed this, saying a failure of intelligence could not be possible.

An examination report on the magnetic lifters where the drugs were found will also be released by the Department of Public Works and Highways next week. Aquino said the report would serve as additional evidence.

Former chief of the Customs' X-ray Inspection Project Lourdes Mangaoang already revealed Thursday that x-ray images show that the four magnetic lifters that entered the country did not have any overhead crane with it.

Mangaoang said this shows that there was no intention to use the magnetic lifters for industrial purposes.