The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Monday cautioned operators of transport network vehicles services of their drivers possibly used as “drug couriers.”
PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said drivers of transport network companies (TNCs) Grab and Uber are prone to become “unwitting couriers of illegal drugs.”
“We are urging TNVS (Transport Network Vehicle Services) drivers and operators to exercise due diligence to ensure that they will not be used to transport any contraband,” Aquino said.
“They will register using fictitious names and pre-activated SIM cards to avoid detection in case the delivery goes amiss and is intercepted by authorities with the unwitting driver will likely to suffer the dire consequences,” the director added.
Aquino said TNCs offer doorstep express deliveries using cars and motorbikes which are covered by insurance and real-time tracking and notification alerts.
The advisory was issued following the arrest of high-value target Jovet Atillano in a buy-bust operation in Mandaluyong City and the seizure of about over a million-worth of various illegal drugs such as ecstasy, shabu and pieces of Valium last Tuesday.
Aquino said PDEA’s investigation discovered that Atillano used the services of TNVS to transport illegal drugs covered inside packages to his customers without the knowledge of the drivers.
“They will register using fictitious names and pre-activated SIM cards to avoid detection in case the delivery goes amiss and is intercepted by authorities with the unwitting driver will likely to suffer the dire consequences,” Aquino said.
Aquino added drug syndicates and traders have learned to “utilize the mobile-based application of transport network companies to deliver their illicit goods.”
He stressed the PDEA will seek the backing of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and TNVS companies to stop this way of drug trafficking.