Another batch of suspected cocaine washed ashore

TACLOBAN CITY—At least 25 packs of suspected cocaine were recovered by a fisherman on an island off Guiuan town, Eastern Samar.

But the spokesperson of the regional office of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Eastern Visayas (PDEA) declined to confirm if the items were indeed cocaine pending results of laboratory tests.

The 25 packs of white powdery substance were discovered by Gomercido Nolasco, 42, and a resident of Barangay Casugoran of Homonhon Island off Guiuan on Saturday around 1:30 p.m.

Nolasco said he was preparing his fish net while wading in the water when he saw a floating container.

“I was curious so I picked it up,” said Nolasco in a phone interview. “Its cover was sealed thoroughly but I was able to open it and I saw 25 well-sealed packs inside the container,” he said.

Police inspection

He immediately reported the find to the village chair, Saturnino Garado, after he brought the items to the house of village councilor Rosario Abuyno.

On Feb. 6, policemen from Guiuan went to the village to check the items and claimed these could be cocaine, Nolasco said.

The Inquirer called and sent text messages to Chief Insp. William Daida, Guiuan police chief, but didn’t receive any response.

Rogelette Urgel, spokesperson of the regional PDEA office, said she could not say if the white powdery substance was cocaine.

“This needs to be subjected to a laboratory test first,” she said in a phone interview.

Mayor’s plea

But Guiuan Mayor Christopher Sheen Gonzales asked his constituents to report to police if they found similar items.

“Remember that our government is waging a serious drive against illegal drugs,” he added.

A Chinese-registered cargo vessel, Jin Ming No. 16, sank in the waters off Pambujan town, Northern Samar, on Jan. 2.

The vessel was suspected to be carrying illegal substances but a report conducted by a task force said no contraband was found inside the vessel.

In 2009, at least 1.2 tons of cocaine were said to have been thrown into the waters off Northern and Eastern Samar provinces by a Chinese vessel reportedly to avoid being detected by the operatives of the Philippine and US governments.

More than 500 bricks of cocaine had been seized by the PDEA and local authorities.

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