“The alertness of our immigration personnel in analyzing travel patterns of these criminals was instrumental in this arrest.”
Thus said Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Norman Tansingco, as he lauded the bureau’s anti-terrorist group (ATG) for its role in the successful interdiction of two drug smugglers last September 27, 2023.
ATG airport head Bienvenido Castillo III reported to Tansingco that the mother-and-daughter tandem identified as Siti Aishah Binte Awang and Nur Alaviyah Binte Hanaffe, aged 63 and 39 and both of whom are Singaporeans, were intercepted after arriving on board a Qatar airlines flight from Doha while attempting to transit to Hong Kong via the Philippines. Both were arrested by the PDEA and remain under the agency’s custody for filing of the appropriate charges against them.
Tansingco said immigration authorities intercepted them after detecting suspicious travel patterns.
“We received information about a suspect from international counterparts and we observed that she would come in and out of the country in several instances and have noted suspicious travels. We discovered another individual with the exact same patterns, hence we immediately coordinated the matter with the members of the NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) Drug Interdiction Task Group (NAIA-DITG),” Castillo said.
After alerting the task group, members from the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) sprang into action, assisted by airline representatives.
Canine inspection showed that the duo’s luggage contained suspicious materials. Checks by the BOC confirmed that their bags contained six cookie tin cans and fivecylindrical chip cans containing 564 pellets with white powdered substance.
The substance, identified as cocaine, totaled more or less 14,360 grams with a current street value of P76,108,000.
Tansingco hailed the arrest and commended the BI-ATG for the alert and proactive actions that led to the interdiction.
“Close coordination among government agencies in our airports is necessary to protect our borders from all kinds of criminal activity,” the BI chief said.