Task force group formed to probe seized cocaine

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Monday, March 24, 2014


A SPECIAL investigation Task Force Group was created Monday to investigate on the shipment of cocaine bricks that were recovered by authorities at the Sumifru Wharf in Tibungco District in Davao City over the weekend.

The Davao City Police Office (DCPO), Bunawan Police Station, and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Davao Region (PDEA) first recovered 24 bricks of high–grade cocaine weighing 25.968 kilograms inside a Maersk container van around 7 p.m. Saturday, March 22.

On Sunday, the authorities recovered 27 more bricks of cocaine, of which 23 were recovered at the back seat of the Fuso Trailer truck, while the four others were found at the top of the generator set power house.

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The task force will be led by the PDEA-Davao with the DCPO, Bureau of Customs (BOC), Philippine Coast Guard–Eastern Mindanao, Philippine National Police (PNP) Maritime, Philippine Navy, and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Eastern Mindanao.

The task force was made following the order of the Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to authorities to hold the employees of the Sumifru for interrogation.

Duterte earlier urged anyone at the Sumifru Wharf who got one to just return it, and no question will be asked. He said he has no reason to believe that anyone is directly involved since this is an action of an international syndicate.

"Hindi natin alam if missing ba or may nagtago lang, or ilan pa ba ang natitira. Everything is still subject for investigation. We are now conducting the profiling of cocaine at ikukumpara natin dun sa 2009 kung saan may 16 kilograms na recovered sa Sasa Wharf," PDEA-Davao Director Emerson Rosales said.

When asked if the 2009 operation of the authorities at Sasa Wharf, where 16 kilograms of cocaine were recovered, has something to do with the recent recovery, Duterte said he believes so.

"Meron yan. I don't think na wala. But that is now the concern of the PDEA and police to trace it and identify those involved in these transactions. Taga-announce lang ako dito. (As to whether the BOC has lapses) It’s up on the investigation of the authorities here," Duterte said.

DCPO Director Vicente Danao said the search for 13 bricks of cocaine is still ongoing, and cargo vans going out of the container wharf will now be subjected to authorities’ search before they are allowed to leave the wharf’s premises.

There are around 1,000 container vans at the Sumifru Wharf. When asked if the shipment is owned by any powerful persons in Mindanao, Danao said he could not yet say anything at the moment because the investigation is still ongoing.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 25, 2014.

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