PDEA: P18-B worth of illegal drugs seized in 2016

PHILIPPINE authorities have confiscated P18.27 billion worth of dangerous drugs in 2016, a huge portion of which were seized during the first six months of the Duterte administration, the anti-narcotics agency said Friday.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), in collaboration with the other law enforcement agencies, has conducted a total of 19,712 anti-drug operations.

Some 171 of these operations were high-impact that resulted in the arrest of 18,173 drug personalities, 1,020 of whom were high-value targets (HVTs), the filing of 11,681 drug cases and the seizure of P14.23 billion worth of dangerous drugs and controlled precursors and essential chemicals (CPECs) from July 1 to December 31, 2016, PDEA Director General Isidro Lapeña said.

When President Rodrigo Duterte assumed post on June 30, he declared an all-out war against illegal drugs.

“There were seven clandestine shabu laboratories and two chemical warehouses dismantled during the period, compared to the three shabu laboratories and one shabu warehouse dismantled during the first semester of 2016,” Lapeña noted.

“The figures also surpassed the combined output of five illegal facilities shut down from 2013 to 2015,” he said.

For 2016, the total value of CPECs seized amounted to P18.27 billion, a 238.3 percent increase compared to the preceding year.

“Among the pieces of drug evidence confiscated during the period were 2,494.56 kilos, or P12.8 billion worth of methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu, four times more than the shabu seizures in 2015 and even bested the combined output of 2,264 kilos of shabu seized in the last five years,” Lapeña said.

From January 1 to December 31 last year, PDEA also said the anti-narcotics agencies have conducted a total of 32,245 anti-drug operations, 304 of these are high-impact.

“This is 29 percent more than the operations conducted in 2015. As a result of the increase, the number of drug personalities arrested also rose from 44 percent from 19,432 in 2015 to 27,962 in 2016,” Lapeña said.

Of the total arrested drug offenders, 1,900 were HVTs composed of 112 foreign nationals, 88 elected officials, 36 law enforcers, 95 government employees, 98 drug group members, 22 armed drug group members, 226 drug den maintainers, 67 wanted-listed, 12 target-listed and other HVTs numbering to 1,148.

Also last year, PDEA said eradication of marijuana plantation sites went up by 18 percent to 337, resulting in the destruction of marijuana plants and seedlings worth over P5 billion, compared to the 286 illegal hemp cultivation sites swept in 2015.

“It is noteworthy to mention that 1,105.76 kilos of dried marijuana leaves were seized in contrast to 427.43 kilos confiscated in 2015, an increase of 159 percent,” Lapeña added.

He said that increased in seizures of ecstasy tablets and cocaine were observed, with 2,902 tablets and 11.49 kilos confiscated in 2015 compared to the 21,736 ecstasy tablets and 77.63 kilos of cocaine seized in 2016, an increase of 649 percent and 575.6 percent, respectively.

Ninety-nine drug dens were also closed down in 2016, compared to the 77 illegal facilities used to facilitate administration, delivery, storage, distribution, and sale or use of illegal drugs that were rendered inoperative in the previous year.

“Undeniably, 2016 is a banner year for the national anti-drug campaign. PDEA, for its part, has delivered more than expected and has exceeded the bar raised by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte by doubling and even tripling our efforts to lead the government’s intensified fight against the drug menace,” the PDEA chief said, adding that the operational accomplishments achieved in the second half of 2016 even surpassed the annual figures posted since PDEA’s creation in 2002. (SDR/Sunnex)

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