5 African nationals arrested in NAIA who tried to smuggle 25 kilos of Shabu


In China, they could already been executed for their infractions of its laws. But for the five African nationals who tried to smuggle in 25 kilos of methampethamine hydrochloride or “shabu” worth P185 million at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), they could be lucky for the country’s not having the maximum penalty of death. On the other hand, they could still find themselves locked up for the rest of their lives once convicted of the case filed against them by the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
In formally charging the alien drug couriers for violation of certain provisions of the country’s Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act (CDDA) and the Tariffs and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP) at the Department of Justice today, Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon said, the five African nationals, Lina Achieng Noah, a female Kenyan; Josephine Balikuddembe, a Ugandan woman; Aicha Camara, a six-month pregnant woman from Guinee; and couple Joseph Yao Kyeremateng and Hamshawu Sulemana from Ghana, could all be members of an international drug syndicate who might have thought that the Philippines is a safe haven for their illegal drugs trade.
 “We will never allow the country to be used as a transhipment point for international drug syndicates, much more make it a market for their illegal drugs trade,” Biazon said. BOC, in cooperation with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), is now capable of detecting, even sophisticatedly concealed drugs in luggages.
“Our airport Customs officials are trained to detect suspicious passengers and cargoes, especially those suspected of carrying illegal drugs and chemicals. And while we give the best courtesy to the country’s foreign visitors, we will, however, apply the full force of the law to those who violate the country’s laws,” Biazon stressed.
According to Biazon, Noah flew in from Dubai on February 24, 2012 with nine kilos of shabu worth P63 million. While Balikuddembe arrived at the NAIA Terminal 1 on March 10 with three kilos of shabu worth P21 million concealed in her luggage. For her part, the six-month pregnant Camara arrived at the NAIA Terminal 1 with 2.7 kilos of shabu worth P21 million, and the couple Kyeremeteng and Sulemana,  flew in with 10 kilos of the contraband from Ghana worth P 80 million.
For his part, BOC Deputy Commissioner and Run-After-The-Smugglers (RATS) Head Peter Manzano said that, upon orders of Commissioner Biazon, his unit, which is responsible for the filing of cases against violators of the TCCP shall vigorously pursue for the conviction of the five international drug couriers to send a strong message to international drug rings.
“In line with the Bureau’s thrust to make the Philippines an unattractive place to do business for international drug syndicates, we will use all our resources if only to get conviction, spend more time on these particular cases filed today, in order to send the message to international drug rings that the Philippines is not the place for them to do business with,” Manzano said.