Veloso likely a victim of West African Drug Syndicate
The Philippine National Police is looking into the possibility that the West African Drug Syndicate is behind the contraband Mary Jane Veloso transported to Indonesia.
READ: Veloso execution stopped
According to newly-appointed PNP spokesperson Senior Superintendent Bartolome Tobias, it is a “big possibility” that the WADS victimized Veloso, who was sentenced to death after Indonesian authorities found 2.6 kilograms of heroin stuffed in her luggage. She was granted temporary reprieve few hours before her scheduled execution before Wednesday dawn.
“Most common na gumagamit ng mule ang WADS (WADS commonly uses drug mules),” Tobias told reporters in a press briefing on Thursday.
Among those charged by the National Bureau of Investigation with trafficking, illegal recruitment, and estafa is an African national identified only as “Ike.”
This was supported by Senior Superintendent Leonardo Suan, PNP anti-illegal drugs special operations task force Chief of Staff, who said the African illegal drug group had been widely known for recruiting drug couriers from the Philippines.
READ: NBI going after ‘African’ in Veloso drug case
“Actually, the transaction is being conducted outside the country but the recruitment is done here,” Suan said.
The anti-narcotics official said WADS offers as high as $5,000 to drug mules, depending on the quantity of illegal drugs they will surreptitiously transport.
Veloso, 30, accused her alleged recruiter Maria Kristina Sergio of duping her into smuggling heroin from Malaysia to Indonesia in 2009.
Hours before Veloso was set to be executed by firing squad, Sergio went to the Nueva Ecija police to seek assistance from authorities after getting death threats.
On Wednesday, Sergio, with heavily-armed security escorts, and her live-in partner Julius Lacanilao went to Camp Crame and asked to be put under protective custody.
Although the alleged recruiters denied Veloso’s accusations against her, Sergio and Lacanilao have been slapped with illegal recruitment, trafficking and estafa and swindling cases.
Suan said some Filipinos easily accept the offer of the African drug syndicate, which lures its recruits with easy money, due to “economic reasons.”
“Ang number one na consideration kasi d’yan ay pera kaya minsan sinusugal na ng mga kababayan natin (Our fellow Filipinos take their chances on becoming drug mules because of their monetary considerations),” he said.
He also reminded the public, especially those who are planning to work overseas, to do a background check on agencies recruiting them.
“Sa pagta-travel, ‘wag magtitiwala sa mga taong nagpapadala ng mga bagahe at ‘wag magpabaya sa bag, baka pasukan ng droga (When traveling, don’t trust anyone who would ask you to bring their luggage and mind your belongings because they may place drugs in them),” he added. IDL
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