Colombian ‘mule’ nabbed with 1 kilo of cocaine in stomach

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(Reuters file)

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE2 – 5:24 p.m.) A Colombian intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on a tip from US Homeland Security was found to have swallowed 1.185 kilograms of cocaine.

Director General Aaron Aquino of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) identified the suspect as Alberto Pedraza Quijano, 67 years old, a Colombian national and an alleged drug courier who arrived in the Philippines via Emirates Airlines Flight EK332 from Dubai.

Acting on a report from US Homeland Security Investigation-Manila Attaché Office, combined elements of the PDEA Regional Office-National Capital Region (PDEA RO-NCR) under Director Ismael Fajardo, Jr., Bureau of Immigration, Bureau of Customs, Philippine National Police-Drug Enforcement Group (PNP-DEG), AVSEGROUP, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA)-APD, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the Office of the Transport Security (OTS) arrested Quijano during an airport interdiction operation, at around 4:30 in the afternoon.

Anti-narcotics agents almost missed Alberto Pedraza Quijano, 67, who arrived at the NAIA3 from Dubai Sunday evening, because he was well dressed and identified himself as the executive director of a foundation in Colombia.

However, when he was given a medical examination, the X-ray showed what appeared to be sausages in his tummy.

These turned out to be 79 rubber pellets containing the cocaine, estimated to have a street value of P8.89 million.

The Colombian passport of drug mule Quijano, who has been in the Philippines three times. NEWS5 IMAGE

Quijano will be facing charges for violation of Section 4 (Importation of Dangerous Drugs), Section 5 (Transportation of Dangerous Drugs) and Section 11 (Possession of Dangerous Drugs), Article II, of Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Director Fajardo of PDEA said it is probable Quijano had smuggled in drugs before since this was the third time he had entered the country.

He said Quijano would wait for his “wealthy” clients to call him and then deliver the drugs, earning $4,000 for each run.

Fajardo said they hope to obtain the identities of the Colombian’s clients once they subject Quijano’s mobile phones to forensic investigation.

The PDEA admitted difficulty intercepting drug mules like Quijano because they lack the equipment to detect the drugs inside their bodies.