Authorities arrest Colombian drug mule at NAIA 3

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  • Alberto Quijano, who holds a Colombian passport, swallowed 79 elongated rubber pellets containing the suspected illegal drug cocaine.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 14) — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) intercepted Sunday a suspected drug mule who had swallowed ₱8.89 million worth of cocaine.

Authorities arrested Alberto Quijano, 67, at 4:12 p.m. at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 following a tip from the U.S. Homeland Security on Sunday.

Quijano, who holds a Colombian passport, swallowed 79 elongated rubber pellets containing cocaine.

Authorities had Quijano defecate the pellets to recover over 1.185 kilograms of cocaine.

Quijano arrived in the Philippines onboard Emirates Airlines flight EK 332 from Dubai on Sunday.

The PDEA said authorities would check his phone to see to whom Quijano was supposed to deliver the shipment.

"Ifo-forensic natin 'yung cellphone niya dahil according to him itatawag lang niya at idi-direct siya kung saan dadalhin," PDEA Director III Ismael Fajardo said.

(Translation: We'll subject his phone to forensics since he says – he would make a call and he'd be directed where to go.)

When interrogated by reporters, Quijano said in Spanish he got involved in the drug trade because he is in dire need of money.

Authorities are verifying information that Quijano was jailed for two years in New York City for the same offense.

PH-U.S. cooperation led to arrest - U.S. Embassy

A statement from the U.S. Embassy Tuesday said cooperation between the Philippines and the United States led to Quijano's arrest.

It said on November 12, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Manila shared information on a high-risk traveler aboard an incoming international flight.

The statement added close coordination between the HSI, Bureau of Customs, PDEA, and Ninoy Aquino International Airport Inter-Agency Drug Interdiction Task Group led to the arrest.

Quijano will be facing charges for importing, transporting, and possessing dangerous drugs under Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

CNN Philippines' Camille Abadicio and Amanda Lingao contributed to this report.