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Over P18 million worth of marijuana, marijuana oil seized in balikbayan box

Authorities seized over P18 million worth of marijuana leaves and vape marijuana oil concealed in a balikbayan box.

The twelve kilos of marijuana and 350 marijuana oil cartridges were discovered during a random inspection by the Ninoy Aquino International Airport- Inter Agency Drug Interdiction Task Group (NAIA-IADITG), according to Mav Gonazales' Saturday “24 Oras Weekend” report.

“It underwent x-ray inspection and K-9 inspection to which nag-yield siya ng (which yielded) positive indication or presence of illegal drugs,” NAIA-IADITG Deputy Commander Gerald Javier said.

Javier added that the contraband was mixed with packages of canned goods and other food items. The marijuana leaves were meanwhile concealed in t-shirts.

The NAIA-IADITG, along with the Philippine National Police and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, initiated a controlled delivery to determine who would receive the balikbayan box which was addressed to a certain Macy Villa Santos.

The operation resulted in the arrest of two suspects on Saturday morning.

One suspect, identified as Mar Tugade, allegedly produced an ID card belonging to Villa Santos to claim the package.

Tugade, who was in the Antipolo Police’s drug watchlist, said he did not know that the package included marijuana.

The other suspect said he was making a purchase at a store next door and was surprised that he was arrested. He admitted Tugade was a friend.

NAIA-IADITG said marijuana oil had become popular because it was used in vape products.

“Nagiging popular na ang vape sa ating bansa with different flavors and nagiging market na rin ‘yan ng mga illegal drug smugglers na maglagay ng marijuana oil naman sa vape,” Javier said.

(Vape is becoming popular in our country. It has different flavors, which is becoming a market for illegal drug smugglers to put marijuana oil in it.)

“’Yung ganitong volume ng drugs is malaki siya ‘no and this area is a possible distribution location,” he added.

(This is a large volume of drugs and this area is a possible distribution location.)

The two suspects will face charges stemming from the importation of illegal drugs.

Authorities will look into whether the suspects have accomplices and where the illegal drugs were sold. — Giselle Ombay/DVM, GMA Integrated News