5 Africans charged with drug smuggling at DoJ
MANILA, Philippines—The Bureau of Customs (BoC) on Thursday filed before the Department of Justice criminal complaints against five African nationals for allegedly attempting to smuggle in some P185 million worth of methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu.
Facing a case for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act and violation of the Tariffs and Customs Code of the Philippines are Lina Achieng Noah, a female Kenyan; Josephine Balikuddembe, a Ugandan woman; Aicha Camara, a six-month pregnant woman from Guinea; and couple Joseph Yao Kyeremateng and Hamshawu Sulemana from Ghana.
Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon said they believe that the arrested African nationals are members of an international drug syndicate that may have thought that the Philippines is a safe haven for its illegal drugs trade.
“Our airport Customs officials are trained to detect suspicious passengers and cargoes, especially those suspected of carrying illegal drugs and chemicals. And while we give the best courtesy to the country’s foreign visitors, we will, however, apply the full force of the law to those who violate the country’s laws,” Biazon said.
He added that the BoC, in cooperation with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), is now capable of detecting even sophisticatedly concealed drugs in luggages.
Biazon said Noah flew in from Dubai last February 24 with nine kilos of shabu worth P63 million while Balikuddembe arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 on March 10 with three kilos of shabu worth P21 million, concealed in her luggage.
For her part, the six-month pregnant Camara arrived at the NAIA Terminal 1 with 2.7 kilos of shabu worth almost P21 million, and the Ghanaian couple Kyeremeteng and Sulemana, flew in with 10 kilos of shabu worth around P80 million.
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