PDEA probes Taiwanese vessel over P125-M cocaine

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency is investigating the circumstances involving a Taiwanese vessel  discovered carrying  24 kilograms of cocaine in Sorsogon worth an estimated P125 million on January 3.

Authorities suspect the illegal drugs came from a foreign cargo vessel marked Jin Ming, which made an emergency docking last Tuesday, January 2, near the shoreline of Pambujan, Northern Samar.
Jin Ming16 made a distress call when it tilted off the waters of Northern Samar province on Wednesday.

The Taiwanese cargo vessel had  9 crew members, 6 are from China, two from Hong Kong, and one from Taiwan.

Christian Frivaldo, PDEA regional director of Legaspi City was quoted in a Philippine News Agency saying they are investigating reports that the cocaine found at the shorelines of Barangay Calintaan in Matnog could have come from the Jin Ming16, which according to the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) is under its watch list for engaging in illegal activities using nautical routes in the Pacific Ocean near the Philippine waters.

“At the moment, we are looking at the possibility that a nearly sunken vessel is responsible for the dumping of the recovered cocaine.” he added.

Based on the TECO report, the ship was involved in illegal activities, considering that it was not detected by our naval authorities by intentionally turning off its positioning system to evade detection,” Frivaldo said.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and police authorities  recovered blue plastic containers with a suspected illegal substance from the seashore of the Juag Lagoon in Matnog, Sorsogon.

 Frivaldo said they have been coordinating with other foreign embassies and offices since TECO responded to their questions about the vessel on Friday.-Editha Z. Caduaya/Newsline.ph