Foreign Drug Gangs Grow in the Philippines

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MANILA—Sophisticated foreign-based drug trafficking syndicates remain the biggest challenge to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and other law enforcement units engaged in the campaign against illegal drugs valued at over $8.4 billion (about P368.2 billion) a year.

From only three in 2008, the number of transnational drug organizations operating in the Philippines has increased to nine, according to the United States’ State Department’s 2010 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, which is posted on the website of the U.S. embassy in Manila.

"The West African drugs syndicate continues to infiltrate the Philippines with their operations. There is an increase in the recruitment of OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) to smuggle cocaine and heroin in and out of the country," said the report. These drug couriers "smuggle and transport illegal drugs to China, Malaysia and Vietnam.