MANILA - Drug cartels are increasingly turning to the Philippines as a transit hub of illegal drugs, a police official said Monday, as more packages of cocaine were found along the shores in the country's eastern seaboard.
Senior Supt. Bernard Banac, spokesperson of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said they believed the recent hauls of cocaine, estimated to be 164 kilos, is intended for the international market.
Some P871 million worth of cocaine, produced from coca that is native in South America, were washed ashore in different provinces in February.
Banac said either the Sinaloa drug cartel, the Golden Triangle syndicate, or a Chinese syndicate could be behind the smuggling operation.
"Nabulilyaso 'yung kanilang operasyon. Ito'y nagkahiwa-hiwalay, napadpad na nga sa dalampasigan," he told "Bandila sa DZMM."
Drug cartels, Banac said, used a boat equipped with a tracking system to move cocaine by the sea.
Authorities suspect the shipment was offloaded in international waters, but the operation failed when the tracking device conked out.
"Kase kung malapit ito sa mainland, matatagpuan itong concentrated sa isang lugar 'pag napadpad. Hindi eh, may iba ibang lugar," Banac said.
Blocks of cocaine were first found along the shores of Camarines Norte on Feb. 10. Similar contraband were discovered in Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Davao Oriental, and Aurora.