14 March 2012

NAIA: Pregnant African Yields Drugs


A pregnant African woman was arrested by airport authorities Tuesday morning after her luggage yielded 2.7 kilograms of a crystalline substance suspected to be metamphetamine hydrochloride or “shabu.”
Last Saturday evening, Customs authorities arrested a female passenger from Uganda who was caught in possession of 4.5 kilograms of shabu.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said an African drug smuggling syndicate has been shipping drugs to Manila due to the government’s successful operations in dismantling illegal drug laboratories in the country and that the pregnant suspect is the second African woman to be caught at the airport in recent weeks.

Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)-based Bureau of Customs (BOC) Deputy District Collector Thess Roque identified the African passenger as Aicha Camara, a 27-year-old native of the Republic of Guinea who arrived in the country late Sunday evening.
Roque said Camara arrived from Casablanca in Morroco via Abu Dhabi aboard an Etihad Airways flight late Sunday evening.
However, Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers denied her entry into the country because she was not able to justify her visit to the Philippines.
With no scheduled flight back to Morroco, Camara was forced to stay the night at the NAIA Day Room while waiting for the next Etihad flight out of the country.
While waiting for her return flight to Morocco, the Guinean national, who was six months pregnant, suddenly complained of contractions and was immediately brought to the NAIA clinic for a medical examination.
Airport doctors advised that she to be brought to a nearby hospital immediately.
Before she was wheeled out of the airport, Customs Examiners inspected Camara’s bag and it was then that they discovered “false bottoms” inside her bag which can be referred to as secret compartments.
A closer inspection of the bag showed two plastic pouches taped to the sides of the trolley bag.
Having been concealed exactly the same as the other African woman, Josephine Balikuddembe, who was arrested last Saturday, the Customs examiners immediately became suspicious of its contents and following standard operating procedures, immediately informed agents from the PDEA to test the substance.
A field test on the crystalline substance showed that it was positive as Shabu which was then followed by a formal inventory of Camara’s belongings. The two plastic pouches weighed a total of 2,700 grams which has a street value of P21.6 million. Also found in her possession was $4,900 in cash.
Camara, who was obviously experiencing pain, refused to comment on who she was supposed to hand the drugs over to here in Manila and just kept on asking that she be brought to the hospital right away.
Roque disclosed that a Filipino woman was at the airport to meet the African upon her arrival. The Filipina is now being held for questioning by members of the PDEA for her possible involvement in the drug smuggling syndicate.
The Guinean national was later brought to a nearby hospital for medical attention but under heavy guard by PDEA agents.
By ANJO PEREZ 
mb.com.ph

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