MANILA, Philippines—China remains to be the primary source of illegal drugs smuggled into the country, the antinarcotics unit of the Philippine National Police said on Thursday.
Senior Supt. Bartolome Tobias, chief of the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (AIDSOTF), said recent operations against drug syndicates revealed that shipments of methamphetamine hydrochloride or “shabu,” which were illicitly brought to the country, came from mainland China.
“Most of those involved in smuggling shabu were mostly Chinese and West African drug syndicates,” Tobias told reporters during the 10th founding anniversary of the AIDSOTF at Camp Crame.
“This is why we will continue to launch operations against big-time Chinese drug lords operating in the country,” he said.
Last month, AIDSOTF operatives and Bureau of Customs personnel, led by Customs Risk Management Office Assistant Chief Jimmy Guban, raided a drug warehouse of a Chinese drug syndicate in Subic, Zambales, and seized over P4 billion worth of shabu.
Tobias said the illegal drugs, which were smuggled into the country from China through the Subic port, were about to be distributed in Metro Manila when authorities conducted the raid.
He said the AIDSOTF was closely coordinating with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to thwart attempts of South American drug cartels to bring in cocaine to the Philippines.
On Tuesday, a senior US Department of Justice (DOJ) official warned that drug syndicates operating in Colombia and other South American countries might try to peddle cocaine in East Asian countries, including the Philippines, due to the US government’s successful campaign against illegal drugs.
William Brownfield, assistant secretary of the US DOJ Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, said the demand for methamphetamine in the United States has dropped by at least 50 percent.
“We are now coordinating with the PDEA and other authorities to check on the information given to us by Brownfield. While the possibility is there because of our geographical location, we can address this with our good existing cooperation and collaboration with other government agencies,” Tobias said.