Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III commended Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon of the Bureau of Customs and the BOC team assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) for successfully thwarting attempt by a 22-year old student to smuggle 4.8 kilograms of cocaine into the country.
The arrest of the student, Jon-Jon Villamin, who arrived via an Emirates flight from Dubai on Oct. 2, is "one more proof of the Duterte administration's relentless campaign against illegal drugs," Dominguez said.
"The swift action of the Customs team assigned at the NAIA, which coordinated its efforts with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), led to the success of the drug bust operation," he said.
The Customs officials and personnel assigned at the airport under the leadership of Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon deserve to be highly commended for foiling this brazen attempt to bring in illegal drugs into our country," Dominguez said.
He said, "The close coordination among customs bureau personnel, NAIA employees and the PDEA in this case shows that with government agencies working together, we can make significant strides in the war against drugs."
According to a memorandum submitted to Dominguez by Edgar Macabeo, the acting NAIA district collector, the street value of the cocaine haul is estimated at P25 million.
The apprehension and arrest of the suspect was done by the BOC-NAIA Inter-agency Drug Interdiction Group, Macabeo said.
"Passenger Mr. Jon-Jon T. Villamin was turned over to the PDEA while the apprehended suitcase remains with Customs custody pending seizure proceedings. Simultaneous cases of drug smuggling will be filed against Mr. Villamin," Macabeo said in his memo.
The NAIA customs team was able to arrest Villamin following information relayed to Macabeo that a passenger onboard Emirates flight EK-332 would be arriving in Manila carrying narcotics.
According to Macabeo, the PDEA provided the canine sniffers and equipment to help detect the presence of illegal drugs inside Villamin's black checked-in luggage, which initially underwent an x-ray scan.
"Confirmatory x-ray scan was conducted after the PDEA canine sat on the black suitcase indicating the presence of narcotics. It showed images of hidden compartments plus the presence of organic particles inside the false compartment," Macabeo said in his memo to Dominguez.
After dismantling the inner lining of Villamin's suitcase, the team of Customs and PDEA agents found white powdery substance inside plastic bags lining both sides of the luggage. Initial tests showed that the substance was high-grade cocaine.
According to immigration records, Villamin left Manila for Hong Kong on Sept. 24, then flew on Sept. 25 to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil where he stayed for five days. He then boarded an Emirates flight for Manila via Dubai.
Source: Philippine Information Agency