Customs Foils P20-M Shabu Smuggling

MANILA, Philippines - With the help of K-9 dogs, Bureau of Customs personnel assigned at the airport were able to seize about P20 million worth of high-grade shabu or methamphetamine from an Ugandan national.

Customs Deputy Collector for Passenger Services Tess Roque said the dangerous drug was found concealed in a brown enveloped that was allegedly hidden in the suitcase of Ugandan national, Josephine Balikuddembe.

Roque claimed that Balikuddembe's luggage passed Dubai authorities late Saturday night, so the latter must have thought that BoC airport personnel were lax by that time.

The suspect, she said, failed to consider the highly-trained K-9 dogs, whose senses are more heightened at night.

Arriving at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport via Emirates flight from Dubai at past 10 p.m., Balikuddembe breezed through the Customs area like any foreign traveler.

She immediately proceeded to the conveyor area to get her luggage but by then, airport authorities had confiscated her luggage.

The baggage allegedly had a secret layer sealed with ''rugby.''

The suspect was haphazard in covering her crime. ''There was shabu residue in the luggage,'' Roque said.

Minute traces of shabu were enough to send the alarm to the K-9 dogs.

As the ground services were hauling off the passengers' luggage at the ramp, the alert canines quickly sniffed the prohibited drug.

When airport authorities checked and opened Balikuddembe's luggage, they found about 4.5 kilos of shabu, which can easily fetch P20 million in the market.

At the conveyor area, the clueless by authorities while awaiting for her baggage.

When confronted, the suspect was ''still in a state of denial,'' Roque claimed.