Thai authorities have recently arrested five Filipinos who were carrying illegal drugs in four separate occasions from March to May this year, the Philippine embassy in Bangkok said.
This prompted the embassy to issue a strong warning to Filipinos against accepting and carrying packages or items to Thailand from complete strangers or new acquaintances in exchange for money. It said Thai law metes out the death penalty to people carrying what it calls Category I narcotics like heroin "for the purpose of disposal."
On March 22, April 13, and May 4, at the Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thai immigration and police authorities arrested three Filipinas carrying between two to five kilograms of cocaine. Two came from Peru, while one arrived from Brazil.
On May 3, at the Thai-Myanmar border, two Filipinos were arrested for possession of over five kilograms of methamphetamine.
In June last year, a Filipina was arrested for possession of 13 kilograms of marijuana at the Thai-Laos border. The Filipina was told that she was just carrying slimming tea.
A West African drug gang is believed to be behind a large-scale operation where Filipinos are allegedly hired as drug mules.
The Department of Foreign Affairs is working with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and other agencies in a concerted effort to combat the victimization of Filipinos by international drug syndicates.
Recently, the PDEA initiated and executed a successful operation neutralized an international drug trafficking organization operating in the Philippines and in neighboring Asian countries. Working with foreign law and drug enforcement authorities, the PDEA-led operation resulted in the arrest of nine male Nigerians, one female Thai, one female Malaysian, and two Filipinas, as well as the seizure of two kilograms of cocaine and one kilogram of heroin in China.
On the recommendation of the DFA, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed Administrative Order (AO) 279 on February 28, creating the Drug Couriers Task Force (TFDC) which is now tasked to prevent Filipinos being used as drug couriers by international drug trafficking syndicates.
The task force is composed of the PDEA as chair, the DFA as co-chair, and the Department of Labor and Employment, the Bureau of Immigration, the Bureau of Customs, the National Bureau of Investigation, the Philippine Information Agency, the Manila International Airport Authority, and the Philippine Tourism Authority as members.
The task force is also closely coordinating with counterpart agencies of other countries for the formulation and execution of bilateral or regional actions against the recruitment of Filipinos as drug couriers.
Tuesday, June 01, 2010