Filipino Police Seize Tea Packets Filled with Meth

Philippine police have seized hundreds of kilograms of methamphetamine - with an estimated street value of US$49 million - hidden inside Chinese tea packets.

Filipino police show seizure of meth hidden inside tea packages. (Philippine National Police)Filipino police show seizure of meth hidden inside tea packages. (Philippine National Police)The drugs were discovered in the flat of Chinese national Liu Chao, in Makati city, according to the Philipinne’s police chief.

“We had been investigating the apartment for two weeks,” Archie Gamboa told the media at a Wednesday press conference. 

“We asked them during interrogation why they were smuggling the drugs into the Philippines and they said it was because we have no death penalty,” he added.

Liu was arrested while trying to flee on Tuesday night after growing suspicious of a deal with an undercover cop acting as a buyer.

When police raided Liu’s flat they found the meth hidden inside vacuum-sealed tea bags, as well as in packages of dog food.

Two Filipinos, acting as Liu’s drug dealers, were arrested in a separate raid in the city of Las Pinas. One was found to be carrying roughly 17 kilograms of meth.

It’s not the first time tea packets have been used to smuggle meth into the Asian country.

In March, police seized 160 kilograms of the drug hidden inside tea packages in Manila.

Police say the packages seized in the most recent raid bear similar markings to ones found in Myanmar and Thailand, leading investigators to believe an international crime group is behind the smuggling.

The Philippines has gained notoriety in the past few years for a wave of police violence targeting drug dealers.

In July, Amnesty International described the government’s alleged crackdown on suspected drug dealers as a “large-scale murdering enterprise.”

The government’s official toll is about 5,500 suspects killed by police but watchdogs claim the true number is quadruple that.