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Siargao new cocaine haven?

Hananeel Bordey

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With the influx of foreign tourists in Siargao Island, Mexican drug syndicates have allegedly found a lucrative market as shown by a new tranche of mysterious cocaine bricks found on the shores of Burgos, Surigao del Norte last Sunday.

House Dangerous Drugs chairman and Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Barbers made this remark after Police Regional Office-13 revealed that at least 40 bricks of suspected cocaine floating in the waters were recovered by fishermen around 4:30 p.m. over the weekend.

“Maybe it’s true that they have a market there, not a huge market, but they have a possible market. Remember that in Siargao, tourists might be looking for that kind of drug. It is not far-fetched that they have suppliers and it is possible that they are selling these in the island,” Barbers said in an interview.

It was the second time that cocaine bricks were found on waters off Surigao.

Last 24 February, 34 bricks of suspected cocaine were found by two fishermen floating on waters of Tandag City, Surigao del Sur around 6:30 a.m.

Barbers believe that these syndicates have established local contacts that will facilitate the selling of the illegal substance.

“I firmly believe that they have contacts here but I hope that their contacts are not politicians because I suspect that some who are probably involved are politicians and I hope I have a wrong guess,” the lawmaker said.

Barbers said Siargao is becoming a transshipment point of cocaine being distributed by these international drug syndicates.

“So there the locals can pick up the items dropped by the Mexicans or the Columbians. Like transshipment. Aside from the island being porous, there are a lot of other small islands where they can drop and pick up (items). It’s really hard to monitor,” he said.

He emphasized that these drug groups could have local contacts that will get the packages on the shore for repacking as these illegal substances have embedded Global Positioning System (GPS).

“This may be a modus of the syndicates that they establish local contacts. They could be residents of Siargao connected to them,” Barbers said.

“These are passed through here for repacking or for wholesale distribution because it is impossible that syndicates do not have contacts here,” he added.

The lawmaker also disclosed that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Philippine National Police believe the bricks came from Mexico, but this information is now under investigation and this has yet to be verified.

He also considered that Siargao is located near the nautical highway in the northeast part of Mindanao facing the Pacific Ocean where international vessels can pass through the area.

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