Shabu in magnetic lifters: Raps filed vs. former cop, ex-officials, over 40 others

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In August, authorities seized four magnetic lifters found in a warehouse in Cavite, which PDEA said has been emptied of ₱11 billion worth of shabu. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 13) — More than 40 persons – including former law enforcement officials – are facing criminal complaints over the smuggling of multibillion-peso shabu shipments.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Thursday filed before the Justice Department charges for violation of Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 for conspiracy to import, trade and transport dangerous drugs; corrupt practices of public officers; and obstruction of justices; among others.

These are in relation to two massive drug shipments concealed in magnetic lifters – one believed to be worth ₱11 billion and the other, ₱2.4 billion – which were found by authorities in August. The contraband slipped into the country in June.

Named as principal respondents in both cases are dismissed Senior Supt. Eduardo Acierto, former PDEA deputy chief for administration Ismael Fajardo – who was sacked in September for "[having] knowledge on the shipments," former Customs intelligence officer Jimmy Guban, Police Inspector Lito Pirote, and Joseph Dimayuga. They are accused of facilitating the entry of both drug shipments.

All five, except Dimayuga, landed on President Rodrigo Duterte's list of law enforcement officers involved in the illegal drug trade, based on an intelligence report. PDEA said Acierto, Fajardo, and Dimayuga remain at large. The Senate earlier cited Acierto and Fajardo in contempt after repeatedly snubbing its hearings on the shabu controversy. Guban has been turned over to the Justice Department for witness protection after implicating Acierto and disclosing other information.

READ: Former Customs officer also links policeman to ₱2.4-B shabu shipment

Meanwhile, a number of companies and their officers were also slapped with charges for their alleged involvement in the smuggling of four magnetic lifters found in a warehouse in Cavite, which PDEA said has been emptied of ₱11 billion worth of shabu. They are He Zhong Consultancy Co. Inc., Red Day Machinery Parts Corporation, Yida Equipment Crane Limited Company, Dong Trieu Trading and Import/Export Service Trading Company Limited, All Systems Logistics, Inc., and SMYD Trading, which was hired as consignee for the shipment.

Some X-ray inspectors of the Bureau of Customs and a number of Chinese individuals known only by their aliases also face raps.

Meanwhile, entities SN Logistics and Ben Line Agencies Philippines, along with 10 other personalities were named as respondents in the case involving the ₱2.4-billion shabu shipment seized at the Manila International Container Port.

PDEA Chief Aaron Aquino, who led the filing of cases, said they "haven't seen any evidence" that would link former Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña to the shabu smuggling. Duterte transferred Lapeña to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and placed all BOC officials on floating status following the controversy.

READ: No militarization of Customs bureau, new chief ensures

CNN Philippines' Triciah Terada contributed to this report.