PDEA urges hotels to ensure establishments are not being used as drug dens

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File photo of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Aaron Aquino from PDEA

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) is urging hotel owners to take steps to ensure that their establishments are not being used as illegal drug dens.

“Utmost vigilance should always be observed. Hotel management should tighten measures to detect illegal drugs and gun searches without compromising our (PDEA) operations and, most importantly, the safety of the hotel guests,” PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said on Wednesday.

Aquino said he issued the statement after recent PDEA anti-drug operations revealed that hotels were being used as choice venues to consume, sell and deliver dangerous drugs.

Suspected pushers and users were caught red-handed selling and using methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu, and ecstasy, respectively, inside plush hotel rooms in Metro Manila, during a string of buy-bust operations and implementation of search warrants by the PDEA.

“This should be an eye opener for all security agencies that are handling hotels and similar establishments,” the PDEA chief said.

“Illegal drug transactions are actually happening inside hotel rooms because illegal drugs can be exchanged discreetly. Also, organized parties spiked with drugs take place inside these establishments because detection risk is less,” Aquino added.

The PDEA said it had received reports that some drug pushers chose to be billeted inside hotels to conduct their illegal trade because they believed that no law enforcement authorities would try to arrest them in these establishments where a ban on carrying firearms is strictly being enforced.