Man caught carrying marijuana at airport
A 33-year-old man was detained for possessing 2.4 grams of crushed, dried marijuana leaves inside his luggage at the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) on Wednesday.
Personnel of the Office for Transportation Security (OTS) of the MCIA asked Joseph Chiongbian to open his luggage after they found a suspicious metallic sachet through the X-ray scanner at the airport.
According to Chief Insp. Albert Timpac, station chief of the Aviation Security Unit of the MCIA, the metallic object turned out to be just the packaging of a medical lozenge.
But what caught the attention of security personnel was when Chiongbian tried to hide a small plastic container inside his pocket after opening his luggage, apparently as he panicked.
“He was asked what was inside the container. He hesitated and said it was just food, that’s why the personnel had suspicions already and forced him to open it. It was found to have cruhed dried leaves of marijuana,” Timpac said in Filipino.
After confirmation from the airport police, Chiongbian was detained in their office until shortly before noon yesterday.
He remained silent the whole time, neither confirming nor denying ownership of the contraband, Timpac said.
A case was filed against Chiongbian for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 before the Lapu-Lapu City Prosecutor’s Office at around 11 a.m. Thursday.
He was released a few hours later, at around 3:45 p.m. after filing a bail bond of P200,000.
The release order was issued by Executive Judge Marie Militante of the Regional Trial Court Branch 54 of Lapu-Lapu City.
According to Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 7 director Yogi Filemon Ruiz, possession of marijuana is only bailable if the weight falls below 500 grams.
Chiongbian was apprehended at around 8:05 a.m. last Wednesday. He was supposedly bound for Davao.
Reached by Cebu Daily News for comment, a family member said that with the case already filed, they thought it better not to comment on the issue anymore.
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