AUTHORITIES arrested Monday a 22-year-old Malaysian national after his luggage yielded a total of 216 pieces of high-grade cocaine in pellet form worth over P23 million at the Terminal 1 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City.

Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente noted that the suspect Nasiruddin Bin Mohd Hasnan was accosted by Immigration Intelligence agents together with other members of the NAIA-Drug Interdiction Task Group (DITG) around 7:30 p.m. on November 14.

"[Seized] from him was 216 pieces of high-grade cocaine in pellet form weighing 4,617.5 grams in total," he said in a statement.

The confiscated drugs, concealed in a chocolate canister, is worth P23,087,500.

The foreigner will be charged with violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

Prior to Monday's operation, the DITG received a tip from the United States Drug Enforcement Agency about the arrival of a drug courier on board Ethiopian Airlines flight ET628.

The foreigner travelled from Kuala Lumpur to Addis Ababa, then Togo, where he stayed for 24 hours before proceeding to Manila. The plane landed at NAIA at around 4:30 p.m.

DITG elements tagged and monitored the courier as soon as he presented himself at the immigration counter.

“Subject did not have a checked-in luggage and the task group decided to allow a controlled delivery to determine who will pick up the subject at the airport. However, at around 7:30 p.m., the task group decided to move in and arrest the subject when it became apparent that no one will pick him up as he hailed a taxi,” according to the official BI report.

“Examination of his carry-on luggage revealed the pellets of cocaine hidden amongst Lindt chocolates in a canister,” it added. (FP/Sunnex)