July 8, 2015 – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) advises the public to be alert to the modus operandi of drug syndicates, as well as the profile of recruiters working for them and their victims, as described below. The information on the modus operandi of drug syndicates is based on the report from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

Modus Operandi of Drug Syndicates in Recruiting Drug Couriers

Drug syndicate recruiters meet potential victims through casual acquaintances or through the Internet in order to befriend, enter into a relationship and/or marry the victim. The potential drug courier is lured or attracted by the offer of payment of US$3,000 up to US$15,000 for every successful delivery or transaction. They are provided with plane tickets and hotel accommodations. African Drug Syndicate (ADS) members, in particular, are engaged in the importation of illegal drugs in low amounts at a high frequency.

Profile of Drug Couriers

Drug couriers that have been caught are mostly male. Some are displaced overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are looking for a job abroad. Some have a poor educational background. However, some drug couriers are also, in fact, well-educated. In their case, they were lured by drug syndicates who offered them “easy money” and the opportunity to travel to different countries. Drug syndicate recruiters also take advantage of a potential victim’s desire to enter into a relationship or marriage.

Why are drug syndicates recruiting Filipinos in particular?

Drug syndicates target Filipinos specifically for their proficiency in the English language, their ability to speak other languages, and their skill with computers and the Internet. Filipinos are deemed by drug syndicates to have an “unassuming behavior” which attracts less attention from police or airport authorities. Filipinos also, in general, have a positive disposition which drug syndicate recruiters exploit.

A Reminder to the Public:

Observe the Law When Traveling, Be Extra Careful and Alert

We appeal to all Filipinos not to be victimized by international drug syndicates and to avoid falling for the modus operandi employed by drug trafficking syndicates. 

We call for personal vigilance and responsibility on the part of Filipinos who travel abroad. We remind our kababayans that the laws imposed by host countries govern cases of drug trafficking.

We hope that this information will help our kababayans to be more equipped in preventing themselves from becoming victims of drug syndicates. END

Advisory on the Modus Operandi of Drug Couriers

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