Thirty-nine packs of cocaine worth over P200 million have been recovered from the seashore of Caraga, Davao Oriental since Sunday.
Authorities recovered four bundles containing 36 packs of cocaine on Sunday morning and another three packs yesterday in Purok Talisay, Barangay Santiago, Caraga.
With this, Chief Supt. Marcelo Morales, the Police Regional Office director, ordered all his city and municipal police heads in coastal areas to verify possibilities that other packs or bricks may be carried by current ashore to their shore.
Morales also encouraged the local barangay officials and local government unit to report if they find suspicious items on their shores.
“We will continue to monitor this as we will not allow that our beautiful coastal areas will be used by these drug syndicates to penetrate our region with their illegal transactions,” Morales told reporters in a press briefing held yesterday at the conference room of the Davao City Police Office (DCPO).
Morales said they are investigating if the recovered drugs are connected to the other bricks of cocaine found earlier this week in the different parts of the country.
Sr. Supt. Marcial Mahistrado, the director of the Davao Oriental Police Provincial Office, said the Caraga municipal police station received a phone call at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday from Barangay Santiago
Kagawad Emelio Bantayan who reported that a shoreline resident found suspicious items.
Based on the testimony of the barangay kagawad, the items were found around 11 a.m. Sunday by a resident, name withheld, who was swimming along the shoreline.
After verification, Mahistrado said they recovered four bundles — three of which contained 10 packs while the other bundle, which was already opened, contained only six packs.
He said they are investigating the possibility that the bundle containing six packs was intentionally opened or was opened by the currents.
They are coordinating with the Philippine Coast Guard and the 701st Infantry Brigade in conducting search and scouring operation in case the other bricks were scattered to the other part of the town.
Mahistrado said a checkpoint was set up to inspect motorists who might have found and intend to transport the illegal drugs.
The 36 bricks of cocaine recovered on Sunday are now in the custody of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 11 based in this city.
The items were presented to the media during the press briefing yesterday at the DCPO headquarters.
Antonio Rivera, PDEA regional director, said that based on the estimate of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) cocaine is worth P1 million per kilo and P5,300 per gram.
Morales said they are investigating foreign and local vessels that passed by near or at the seashore of Caraga since Feb. 1. They are at least 20 international local vessels.
The recovery of cocaine started early this month in Surigao del Sur, just north of Davao Oriental.
“Maybe it was the same ship that dropped the cocaine,” he said.
Morales said they are also coordinating with the maritime police, coast guard, and navy to intensify their coastal patrol “since our coastline is vulnerable and our capability is limited so there is a need to (have) an effective strategy to prevent this modus operandi in our coastline.”
The PDEA also recently created a seaport anti-illegal drug interdiction task group that will address the same incident, Rivera said.
“Right now, they (task force) is scouring the area (in Caraga),” Rivera said.
Col. Mannuel Sequitin, the brigade commander of 701st Infantry Brigade, said the military deployed forces to assist the police and PDEA in the search operation.
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