Tuesday, January 11, 2011

3 members of West African drug ring victimizing OFWs nabbed

At least three members of a West African drug syndicate victimizing overseas Filipino workers were arrested and nearly one kilo of cocaine seized from them in Quezon City, the Office of the Vice President said Tuesday.

The OVP said the arrests, the result of a joint operation between it and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, are only the first of many to come.

“This is only the beginning. We will intensify our operations against these syndicates who victimize Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs)," Vice President Jejomar Binay said in an article posted on the OVP website.

Arrested were Malik Bawa of Togo; Richard Appiah of Ghana; and Puntiva Chareonthong of Thailand. Seized from them were 970.9 grams of cocaine.

The three, who were arrested at the Broadway Court Apartelle in New Manila, Quezon City, face charges of drug possession.

For his part, PDEA chief Jose Gutierrez Jr. said the operation was made possible with the help of drug law enforcement counterparts from Hong Kong. 

“This is part of our commitment to prevent our kababayans [compatriots] from being victimized by members of organized drug syndicates," Gutierrez said, adding that PDEA will pursue its campaign against the recruitment of drug couriers and against drug syndicates operating here and overseas.

The OVP and PDEA are seeking to neutralize West African nationals, other Asians and Filipinos who recruit drug couriers and traffic in dangerous drugs across national boundaries.

Binay, who is chairman of the Presidential Commission on Overseas Filipino Workers, cautioned OFWs, especially females, against falling prey to the enticements made by syndicate members.

He said these ring members often befriend victims through social networking sites or by going to the provinces to look for couriers to recruit.—JV, GMANews.TV

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