American traveler caught with P19.6M cocaine at NAIA

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

September 28, 2022, 7:26 am

<p><em>(Photo courtesy of PDEA)</em></p>

(Photo courtesy of PDEA)

MANILA – A 75-year-old American man was arrested for allegedly trying to slip in illegal drugs at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said on Wednesday. 

Based on its initial report, the agency said the suspect Stephen Joseph Szuhar, a retired casino manager, yielded around 3.7 kg. of white powdery substance suspected to be cocaine worth PHP19.6 million in an interdiction operation conducted by the NAIA Inter-Agency Drug Interdiction Task Group (IADITG) on Tuesday night.

Szuhar arrived at the Customs International Arrival Area in NAIA Terminal 3 at around 8 p.m. via Qatar Airways Flight QR 932 from Doha, Qatar.

After screening and conduct of inspection, the cocaine was found in his luggage. 

Also seized from the suspect were one black luggage containing assorted clothes, several pieces of carbon paper, and three pieces of improvised pouches made of packaging tape each containing a white powdering substance.

The seized pieces of evidence are submitted to the PDEA Laboratory Service for qualitative and quantitative examination.

The suspect will face charges for violation of Republic Act 9165 otherwise known as "The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002". (PNA)