A Canadian man has been arrested by anti-drug police after collecting a parcel of the asthma drug ephedrine from a mail office.
Police have identified the suspect as Gary Gardner Mader. He was detained at the Central Mail Exchange Center in Pasay City yesterday (Tuesday, March 19).
Police said they recovered 650 ephedrine tablets that were sent to the post office by NutriFarm Supplement, a health company based in Toronto. The parcel was labelled as “Asthma Supplement”.
According to Wikipedia, 8mg tablets of the drug can be legally sold in Canada as an “oral nasal decongestant”.
Mr Mader, a Canadian Army veteran, has claimed that he has used the drug to treat a skin allergy for the past two decades.
Ephedrine banned in Philippines
However, in the Philippines the drug is also as a dangerous drug by the Dangerous Drugs Board through its Board Regulation No. 4, series of 2005. As of July 2016, each gram of ephedrine is worth about 350 pesos.
Ephedrine can be used in the manufacture of methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu, according to Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) spokesman Derrick Carreon.
Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Bernard Banac said today that suspicions were raised due to the sheer volume of tablets.
He said: “Being a precursor or ingredient, it is illegal to import it into the country, unless you have a permit or authority from PDEA.”
Mr Mader has now been charged in violation of Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, and RA 10863, or Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
Police said they are now conducting further investigations to determine whether anybody else was involved in the shipment.