The Bureau of Customs has charged two traders and a broker for smuggling into the country nearly P90 million worth of ingredients for the manufacture of the illegal drugs, including the popular “Ecstasy” drug.
Charged before the Department of Justice were trader Wilfredo Armario Bitancor, his broker Franco Robiso Celso and trader Marvin Simon B. Sia for violating the Tariffs and Customs Code of the Philippines and the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.
“The increasing number of seizures of big volumes of dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals show the extent of drug abuse and the illegal drug trade in the country,” Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon said in a statement on Thursday.
“The Bureau of Customs, as the gatekeeper of goods entering the country, shall not allow ill-minded businessmen who exploit and waste the lives of our youth for quick money out of illegal drugs to exist,” he added.
He said Bitancor’s shipment included 160 drums of sulfuric acid and N-butyl acetate, 445 bags of caustic soda, oxychem and hypochloride solutions and laboratory equipment and materials worth P38 million.
They were stacked in seven 20-footer containers that were seized by Customs Intelligence and Enforcement Group operatives under deputy commissioners Danilo Lim and Horacio Suansing in December 2011.
On the other hand, Sia’s shipment of nine packages contained methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu, which was estimated to be worth P17.6 million.
Biazon said they also included Piperonal, a precursor for the production of Ecstasy and was worth P17.6 million.
He added that Sia’s shipment were misdeclared as sodium tungstate and seized by customs agents in January.
“I have ordered the bureau’s Run-After-The-Smugglers under deputy commissioner Peter Manzano to do everything, if only to get convictions, especially on cases such as these,” Biazon said.
“We know that the only way to stop or at least minimize the social menace of illegal drugs is to stop its source by cutting off the distribution line,” Lim said.