Chinese, 16 others rapped in P1.8B shabu smuggling

Aaron B. Aquino

THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency yesterday filed criminal charges against a Chinese national and 16 others tagged as behind the importation of 276 kilograms of shabu worth P1.8 billion which were seized at the Manila International Container Port last March.

PDEA chair, Director General Aaron N. Aquino identified the Chinese national charged with non-bailable charges for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 as Xu Zhi Jian alias ‘Jacky Co,’ the same man identified by Senator Panfilo ‘Ping’ M. Lacson as the top personality behind the multi-billion drug smuggling try.

Xu Zhi Jian, with last known address at 7G, No. 88 Don Benito Street, Hernandez, Pasay City was identified as one of the top officers of Wealth Lotus Empire Corporation and Fortuneyield Cargo Services.

Also charged before the Department of Justice were one Brother Dong-An Dong, whose present identity and address is unknown; Julie Hao Gamboa,  Fe Tamayosa and Alvin Bautista, all residents of Unit 108, The Centennial Building, No. 355 Escolta St., Binondo, Manila;

Jane Abello Castillo, of Block 22, Lot 3 Boston Heights Subdivision, Barangay Toclong, Kawit Cavite; Carlo Dale T. Zueta, of 2165 Litex Road, Commonwealth Quezon City; Abraham G. Torecampo of 17th Floor Tower 2, Eastwood Exelcior Condominium, Bagumbayan, Q.C.;

Arwin P. Caparros, a resident of 2, Lot 4, Zabarte Avenue, Kaligayahan, Q.C.; Leonardo S. Sucaldito,  of 1347 Adarna Extension, Commonwealth, Q.C.; Mark Leo D. Magpayo 22G Executive Tower 1, Eastwood Executive Condominium, Bagumbayan, Q.C. and;

Brian Pabilona, Meldy Sayson, Rhea Tolosa, Edgardo Dominado, Jerry Siguenza and Debbie Joy Aceron, all said to be residents of Unit 888, Ground Floor B of the Centennial Building in Escolta. All the suspects remained at-large and can be placed under arrest only as soon as the court issues a warrant for their arrest.

Aquino said that the suspects were charged for violation of Section 4 (Importation of Dangerous Drugs), in relation to Section 31 (Additional Penalty if Offender is an Alien) of R.A. No. 9165, The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, as amended by R.A. No. 10640, Section 4, in relation to Section 30 (Criminal Liability of Officers of Partnerships, Corporations, Associations or other Juridical Entities)  of R.A. No. 9165 as amended by R.A. No. 10640.

Last March 22, PDEA agents, joined by officers from the Bureau of Customs and Philippine Coast Guard , all under the direct supervision of PDEA National Capital Region Director Joel Plaza conducted an interdiction operation at the MICP Container Freight Station 3 in Manila following an information from their Vietnam counterparts.

The operation led in the seizure of 276,344.82 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu, concealed in sacks of plastic resin with an estimated value of P1,876,800,000.

Aquino said that   Wealth Lotus Empire Corporation and Fortuneyield Cargo Services Corporation were identified as the consignees of the illegal drugs..

The PDEA chief said that a thorough investigation showed that the dangerous drugs were concealed with legally imported plastic resin merchandise  by the syndicate in an effort to hide them from detention by authorities.

“Documents and affidavits would show that the acts committed by the respondents have a vital connection to the chain of conspiracy, that without such acts, the unlawful importation would be unsuccessful,” Aquino said.

“Filing the appropriate charges will serve as a warning to those individuals, especially to government employees, who extend assistance in drug trafficking,” Aquino added.

The PDEA chief said that the March operation was a result of their strengthened ties with their foreign counterparts with the end view of putting a stop to bulk smuggling of dangerous drugs into the country.