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Coast Guard strengthens patrols after cocaine bricks wash ashore

The Coast Guard District Southeastern Mindanao (CGDSEM) has intensified its maritime patrol in the coastal areas following the recovery of 39 bricks of cocaine in Caraga, Davao Oriental on Sunday and Monday.
In an ambush interview yesterday at the sidelines of the launching of the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic (IACT) held at the Davao City Police Office grounds, Commodore Roy Echeverria, the commander of the coast guard, said they already coordinated with the Bureau of Customs to monitor all maritime vessels.
“We have no idea on how the bricks of cocaine washed (to the shore),” he added.
Authorities recovered four bundles containing 36 packs of cocaine on Sunday morning and another three packs on Monday in Purok Talisay, Barangay Santiago, Caraga.
Echeverria said a foreign vessel passes by the area once or twice a month.
“It is a normal port of call they will come in that area,” he said.
However, they recorded no activity from a foreign vessel in the past few months except in November last year. But he said they have a good partnership with both Customs, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, and Philippine National Police to guard the shores.
He said that there was no intelligence regarding any attempt to sneak cocaine into the country.
“They have the right of passage any time for as long as they conduct it in good order or no threat in the security so we will just allow them to pass,” he explained.
He said the coast guard sends eight patrol boats during shifts to monitor not just drug smuggling but also illegal fishing.
Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte said that the Colombian drug cartel is taking advantage of the country’s unguarded seas and shorelines to smuggle huge volumes of drugs.
On Tuesday last week, an estimated 88 kilograms of cocaine worth P440 million were also seized in Caraga following a tip from fishermen who found nearly half of the contraband drifting along the shorelines of Cagdianao, Dinagat Islands.
“How it reached our shorelines, we can’t tell it from now. We will still conduct an investigation on what had really happened,” he said.
The Coast Guard District Southeastern Mindanao (CGDSEM) covers Region XI, Cantilan , Surigao del Sur down to Mati area, Cape San Agustin to Balut Island (Sarangani Island) up to the boundary of Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat and Kiamba, Sarangani province , General Santos city, and Sarangani Bay.
The coastguard district has five stations and 24 sub-stations.

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