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Philippine Standard Time:
21 June 2024, 10:24 AM

BOC-POM, PDEA Bust Illegal Drugs Concealed in Balikbayan Boxes

March 13, 2024

The Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Port of Manila (POM) intercepted an estimated PhP 337.73 million worth of illegal drugs concealed in balikbayan boxes on March 7, 2024.

The shipment underwent initial verification and K-9 inspection based on X-ray images.

Following the K-9 inspection, the balikbayan boxes proceeded through Mobile X-Ray Rapiscan for further scrutiny.

Subsequently, the boxes were segregated and tagged for a comprehensive physical examination.

Representatives from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) K-9 Unit, POM-XIP, CAIDTF, ESS, CIIS, and the consignee were present to witness the physical examination.

PDEA agents actively participated, collecting samples for chemical laboratory analysis and assisting in the inventory of illicit substances.

The findings from the physical examination revealed that 18 balikbayan boxes contained unlawful goods. Among them, five (5) boxes contained 122 packs or 132,100 grams of marijuana (kush) valued at PhP158,520,000.

Furthermore, 13 boxes were found to have 344 packs of marijuana, weighing 147,007 grams, with an estimated value of PhP176,408,400. This included three (3) packs of dried mushrooms containing Psilocybin, valued at PhP312,592 for 560 grams, and 2,234 grams of cannabis oil concealed in 1,117 pieces of e-cigarettes, with an estimated value of PhP2,494,037.60.

Both the forwarder and the owner of the boxes are currently under investigation for alleged breaches of Republic Act (RA) No. 9165, the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, and RA 10863 Section 118, which pertains to the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

Acting District Collector Rizalino Jose C. Torralba assures the public that POM remains vigilant in monitoring and preventing the entry of illegal drugs into the country.

Under Commissioner Bienvenido Y. Rubio’s leadership, ongoing efforts to combat all types of smuggling remain consistent. He stressed, “We are dedicated to preventing smugglers from resorting to such tactics in the future. Safeguarding the integrity of balikbayan boxes, which hold significant meaning for us Filipinos, is crucial. Utilizing this tradition as a smuggling method is completely unacceptable, and we are committed to ensuring that such actions are thwarted.” #

 

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