PNP goes after members of West African syndicates recruiting OFWs as drug mules
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) is tracking down members of the West African drug syndicates operating in the country and believed to be recruiting overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to become drug mules.
“We are looking for the other members nila [West African Drug Syndicates] na nandito. Kung nakalimutan ninyo, iyong West African drug syndicate, ito yung naghihikayat sa atin sa OFW na maging drug mule. Ito po sila. Noong akala natin nawala sila, iyon pala meron pa sila,” PNP chief Police General Debold Sinas said Tuesday in an interview with reporters at the Philippine National Police Academy in Silang, Cavite.
(We are looking for the other drug syndicate members. To recall, these syndicates are enticing OFWs to become drug mules. If we thought they are not operating in the country anymore, it turns out they are still here.)
“So iyon, minamanmanan po natin, para walang kababayan natin na mahuli sa ibang bansa na gawing drug mule,” he added.
(That is why, we will observe them, so that no one will become drug mules.)
Sinas made the directive after the PNP Drug Enforcement Group (PDEG) recovered over P13.6 million worth of shabu (crystal meth) in a buy-bust operation in Pasig City on Monday at 5 p.m.
In a report, PDEG said the anti-drug operation prompted an armed encounter between police operatives and a suspect identified as Emmanuel Christopher Chukwuma, who was killed in the gunfight.
According to Sinas, Chukwuma, who is from Uganda and a resident of Pampanga, is a member of the West African drug syndicate.
“Ito po siya [Chukwuma] member ng West African Drug Syndicate. Ito siya, kasama sa unang buy-bust operation ng PDEG sa Concepcion, Tarlac last Dec. 27 na ang suspek din lumaban at namatay din. Ang nakuha doon more or less 2 kilos of shabu,” said Sinas when asked about the Pasig drug bust.
(He is a member of the West African drug syndicate. He is also the accomplice of a suspect who also died in an operation at Conception, Tarlac on Dec. 27, wherein the suspect fought back and died. Recovered in that operation was more or less two kilos of shabu.)
Sinas said Chukwuma managed to escape authorities during the Dec. 27 Tarlac drug sting.
Previously, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Wilkins Villanueva said movements of the African drug syndicates are rare as traveling is restricted during the pandemic.
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