Philippine authorities said they arrested an Indonesian woman who was carrying 54 million pesos ($1 million) worth of illegal drugs in her carry-on bag from her flight from Cambodia on Monday, amid a crackdown on drug smuggling attempts.
The Bureau of Customs said Agnes Alexandra was arrested after midnight at Manila’s airport after authorities found 8 kilograms (17.6 pounds) of methamphetamine, a powerful and highly addictive stimulant, in her bag from a flight from Cambodia’s resort city of Siem Reap. She wept and covered her face in front of TV cameras, telling officials the bag was not hers.
“The suspect says it was given for her to carry, but that is always their story,” Bureau of Customs official Lourdes Mangaoang said at a news conference where the seized drugs and Alexandra were presented.
Alexandra will be charged with drug trafficking, officials said.
Airport authorities have tightened the screening of cargo and baggage due to what they say were attempts by drug syndicates to smuggle in illegal drugs through regular ports of entry.
Last month, Manila airport officials seized a bag and a backpack with methamphetamine that were abandoned at the airport’s arrival area. The bags came from a flight from Vietnam. Philippine authorities are still hunting down a passenger they suspected of bringing the drugs over before abandoning them after sensing the tight inspections.
After taking office in mid-2016, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte launched a crackdown that has left nearly 7,000 mostly petty drug suspects dead and more than 256,500 arrested in an unprecedentedly massive campaign that has alarmed Western governments and sparked complaints of mass murder before the International Criminal Court.