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Pinoy Abroad

Pinay held in Shanghai airport for drug trafficking

September 24, 2008 1:29pm
MANILA, Philippines - A 33-year-old Filipina was arrested Tuesday night at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport in China after authorities discovered heroin inside the five pairs of shoes in her carry-on luggage, Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Vicento "Tito" Sotto III said Wednesday.

In a press conference after the House subcommittee hearing on the proposed 2009 budget for the DDB, Sotto said the woman, whom he refused to identify, flew to China from Manila aboard a Cebu Pacific 5J678 flight.

She was carrying a tourist visa, Sotto said.

Sotto said authorities are still determining the specific amount of heroin found in the shoes, which he described as high-heeled.

On September 15, a 25-year-old Filipino was likewise arrested in the same airport after boarding another Cebu Pacific 5J678 flight from Manila.

Sotto said they are studying the possibility that Philippine airport authorities are involved in the drug-trafficking incidents.

"We still have to find out kung merong involved sa awtoridad natin dito," Sotto said.

He added that they are also exploring the possibility that the incidents are related to the Nigerian drug syndicate which was recently busted in Malaysia, wherein nine Filipinos were implicated.

"We're also looking at the possibility that this could be a ploy. Baka talagang sumugal dito (Nigerian drug syndicate) para may mahuli at malipat ang focus sa Pilipinas," said Sotto.

He said that from 2006 to 2008, almost 80 Filipinos have been imprisoned in China for drug-trafficking.

Fifty-two of these were arrested in 2008 alone, he added, while two were released for "humanitarian reasons" or because they were pregnant.

Sotto called on Filipinos flying abroad not to be swayed by drug syndicates into transporting illegal drugs, bemoaning that the country has become a trans-shipment point.

"Wag papadala sa pakiusap o sa pera. It's not worth it. Not at all," said Sotto. "These people will likely face imprisonment, and possibly death, in China."

Sotto said heroin "is more of a trans-shipment problem right now," as most illegal drug users in the country use the more popular shabu, marijuana, and ecstacy.

Sotto said the DDB is already coordinating with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and strengthening regional and international linkages to resolve the issue. - JOHANNA CAMILLE SISANTE, GMANews.TV