WASHINGTON: A 50-year-old Bolivian drug courier has been arrested at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) after authorities of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) discovered liquid cocaine concealed inside her winter jackets. Maria Hinojosa Bazan, a passenger of Ethiopian Airlines from Addis Ababa, which arrived at 6:49 p.m. on Monday was the subject of surveillance operations based on Interpol report that a Bolivian passenger was carrying undetermined amounts of prohibited drugs.
Customs District III Collector Ed Macabeo said with the help of Bureau of Immigration officials at the NAIA terminal 1 they were able to identify the passenger upon presenting her passport. Macabeo added that when Bazan retrieved her luggage at the Customs area, the Inter-Agency Drug Interdiction Task Force Group (IADTIG), led by Custom Executive Officer Sherwin Andrada, agent Ernesto Pracale, Customs examiners Jericho Flores, Anthony Relucio and Custom supervisor Beth Pableo, as well as agents from the Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA), stopped her for baggage inspection. Bazan did not declare any items on the Customs form which authorities asked her to fill out because all her belongings would undergo rigid inspection.
Customs officials later found white liquid substance in her four winter jackets, which indicated possible cocaine. Macabeo said that the IADITG was strictly monitoring every passenger arriving at the NAIA terminals, as the bureau would soon install another 18 units of X-ray equipment in the three terminals, including x-ray machines for hand-carry luggage. Bazan and the seized liquid were later turned over to PDEA for proper disposition and for proper filing of a criminal case against the foreigner.