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P102 million marijuana in balikbayan boxes seized in Manila port

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs has confiscated five balikbayan boxes containing 82 kilos of marijuana and 1,881 cannabis vape pens valued at P102 million, the BOC reported yesterday.

In a statement, the BOC said the five boxes, shipped from Thailand, were among the 200 balikbayan boxes that arrived at the Manila International Container Port on Feb. 27.

A drug-sniffing dog of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) detected the drugs stashed in the balikbayan boxes.

The BOC said the five boxes were consigned to Marcelo D. Laylo Cargo Forwarders, with the recipient listed as Gerard Cruz.

An alert order was issued last Feb. 28 that paved the way for physical examination of the contents of the balikbayan boxes on April 2.

The boxes were later returned to the shipping container, which was resealed and padlocked.

The contraband would be turned over to the PDEA after a full inventory, the BOC said.

The consignees, senders and recipients of the  balikbayan boxes face charges of violating Section 118 (prohibited importation and exportation) and Section 1400 (misdeclaration) in relation to Section 1113 (property subject to seizure and forfeiture) of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act and the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Meanwhile, the BOC intercepted seven unclaimed parcels containing illegal drugs valued at P14.8 million that arrived at the Central Mail Exchange Center at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

One parcel, which arrived on Jan. 19 from Wilmington in California, held 2.4 kilos of cocaine with a street value of P13 million.

Six other parcels, declared to contain personal items, held 1.3 kilos of high-grade marijuana leaves valued at P1.8 million.