Why NBI men can’t crash drug parties
High-end bars, the favorite hangout of the rich, young and famous, from celebrities to politicians, are so way up there that they now employ security personnel trained to spot undercover agents, according to an antinarcotics officer of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Eric Isidoro, supervising agent of the NBI antinarcotics section, spoke of the difficulty of penetrating such places in the wake of last week’s raids in Taguig and Makati cities which yielded caches of party drugs known to be peddled in exclusive nightspots.
Security people in these bars “not only turn a blind eye on (drug) users but are also trained to spot agents,” he said in an Inquirer interview Saturday.
“There were instances when our agents were already inside and then later asked to leave after they could not present membership cards. They were even frisked for hidden cameras,” Isidoro recalled.
Agents also encounter a similar difficulty with upscale condominiums suspected of being used by drug syndicates as laboratories or safe houses.
“They recruit security personnel and pay them a lot of money to ensure law enforcers could not go up their units,” he added. “We do not have the resources that they have and we have to be more creative in finding ways to get inside.”
The NBI arrested six people, including three Canadians, in early-morning raids at posh residences in Makati and Taguig Wednesday last week on suspicion that they were members of an international drug ring.
Seized during the raid were stocks of “shabu” (methamphetamine hyrdochloride), cocaine and ecstasy pills with a total estimated street value of P100 million.
The discoveries stoked fears that the Sinaloa drug cartel, Mexico’s biggest and deadliest drug network, had started operating in the country.
Calling the raids “a huge breakthrough,” Isidoro said the seized drugs included MDMA or methylenedioxy, which he described as “the new ecstasy” and “is only available through the Mexican drug cartel.”
According to the senior NBI agent, it is usually hard to tell if a person is taking MDMA since “it does not leave signs of abuse after short-term use.”
Having MDMA among the seized drugs could be a sign that the Sinaloa cartel “is testing the viability of their business here.”
In an earlier Inquirer interview, Isidoro said the suspects arrested in the Jan. 15 raids sold drugs to users at exclusive clubs and casinos like Club Haze in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig and Republiq Club in Resorts World in Pasay City.
They also threw exclusive parties at Gramercy Residence in Makati City, he added.
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