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Rodrigo Duterte

Philippine authorities seize meth shipment worth US$121 million after China tip-off

China is the main source of methamphetamine consumed in the Philippines

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 May, 2017, 6:40pm
UPDATED : Monday, 29 May, 2017, 10:42pm

Philippine authorities said they seized 605 kilograms of methamphetamine shipped from China following a tip from the Chinese government.

National Bureau of Investigation officials said Monday that the drugs, with a street value of 6.05 billion pesos ($121.4 million), were seized over the weekend from a brokerage warehouse in metropolitan Manila, while a portion was intercepted from a shipment consignee.

The operation was jointly conducted with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, police and the Bureau of Customs, which alerted the NBI on information from China’s Office of National Narcotics Control Commission (NNCC) about a large shipment of illegal drugs.

According to the NNCC, police in southeast China’s Fujian Province and anti-trafficking authorities of Xiamen city arrested 12 suspects in a raid on May 12.

Watch: Philippines seizes 605 kilograms of meth from China

Investigations revealed on May 25 that two of the suspects, identified by the NNCC only by their surnames Chen and Li, had hid the drugs in cylindrical roller printers that had already been cleared by Philippine customs.

Philippine law enforcement seized the drugs the next day, Xinhua reported.

“This is a good sign of cooperation not only of the different agencies under the present administration but also the international community,” NBI Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin said at a news conference.

Xiamen officials said: “According to the Philippines side, this case is the largest drug trafficking bust made by the Philippines since China and Philippines launched cooperation against cross-border drug smuggling.

“It shows China’s determination to crack down on drug smuggling.”

The NBI seized 505 kilograms of the drugs, popularly known as shabu, from a warehouse in Valenzuela City in operations Friday and Saturday. The drugs were contained in plastic bags inside metal cylinders that were placed in four crates.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency also seized 100 kilograms from another warehouse of a consignee on Saturday.

Two suspects who received the illegal shipment have been taken into custody.

Since taking office last year, President Rodrigo Duterte has launched a war on illegal drugs that has last left thousands of suspected drug dealers and addicts dead.

Despite a patchy diplomatic history between the two countries Duterte has pointed to what he says is a willingness in Beijing to help Manila in its battle against drugs.

During his first trip to Beijing as president in October, Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to beef up exchanges of intelligence, know-how and technology in fighting drug crimes, and to set up a mechanism for joint investigation of drug cases.

China offered to donate drug detection equipment and help with training.

Even as meth and precursors continue to pour into the country from China, a Chinese businessman last year pledged to fund two 10,000-bed rehabilitation centres in the Philippines, which has few drug treatment facilities.

One of the projects opened in late November.

Reuters, Associated Press