3 men linked to Mexican drug cartel nabbed

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

MANILA -- Two Canadians and one Filipino were arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents before dawn Wednesday after a raid in a condominium unit in Taguig City that yielded several kilos of illegal drugs.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima identified the suspects as Canadians James Riach and Barry Espadilla and Filipino Tristan Olazo, alleged members of a “big-time” drug syndicate Independent Soldiers with links to a Mexican drug cartel.

“They import their raw materials from Mexico and they process these into shabu, cocaine and ecstasy to be distributed to local market specifically in night clubs and bars,” she said in a text message, noting the drug ring has been been operating in the Philippines for about seven months already.

Seized during the raid at Unit 301 of the Luxe Residences were finished product cocaine, shabu and ecstasy, heaters, sealers, weighing scales, flasks and other laboratory equipment.

The three are currently detained at the NBI headquarters in Manila and will soon face charges for violating the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, said NBI officer-in-charge Medardo de Lemos.

De Lima said Riach and Espadilla were also convicted in Canada for various crimes. (Sunnex)

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