By Chito Chavez
The chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has concurred with the President’s declaration that a Colombian drug syndicate has now extended its operation in the country.
Aaron Aquino, PDEA Director-General, explained the profiling of cocaine brick samples fished off Matnog, Sorsogon in 2018 resulted into the traditionally Colombian methodology.
“Other samples will undergo same test to validate the source country and method of production,’’ Aquno said.
To expound further, Aquino said if the solvent used in the production of cocaine is “ethyl ecetate and ethyl ketone’’ then it is Colombian methodology.
President Duterte earlier made this pronouncement following the spate of cocaine blocks found floating on local shores recently.
Aquino said the President was right on target when he said the Colombian drug cartel is now operating in the country.
Aquino also bared foreign drug syndicates are using the Philippines as a transshipment point for cocaine saying that drug cartels probably are using cocaine bricks as a diversionary tactic to ship a bigger bulk of illegal drugs into the country.
The PDEA chief noted the floating cocaine bricks found in local shores maybe due to three theories namely the country is being used as transshipment point, a diversionary tactic to throw anti-narcotics off their tracks and the unloading of contraband from the speed boats is done by drug syndicates when there is danger that they may be caught by authorities which they intend to recover later.
On Monday, Duterte declared the cocaine blocks found in Philippine shores came from the Medellin group of Colombia describing it as a serious problem with the entry of the drug syndicate in the country.
Recently fishermen recovered cocaine bricks worth millions of pesos in the local shores in Surigao Del Sur, Davao Oriental, and Aurora.
However, Aquino insisted that cocaine’s market in the Philippines is only about two or three percent saying that shabu remains the illegal drug of choice by drug users.
But, the Philippine National Police (PNP) differed with PDEA’s assessment that cocaine is merely being used as a diversionary tactic asserting the cocaine bricks worth hundreds of millions recovered in local water is simply too pricey.