Indians linked to illegal drugs probed

MANILA -- The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has begun its probe on the reported involvement of some Indian nationals in illegal drug trade in some provinces.

We are alarmed over these reports of Indians allegedly engaged in the illegal drug business. Aliens engaged in such nefarious activities should be apprehended and punished for violating our laws, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said in a statement Thursday.

Morente said he instructed the agency's Intelligence Division to dispatch a team of bureau operatives to areas where police had arrested Indian drug peddlers.

A team of BI operatives was recently dispatched to Iloilo to investigate and conduct follow-up operations following the arrest of three Indian nationals by elements of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

The group reportedly found that all three Indians, identified as Amandeep Tangri, Joginder Pal Tangri and Tehal Singh, had been illegally staying in the country as their visas had expired a long time ago.

Morente said that the Indians, now in PDEA's custody, would be charged with immigration law violations before the BI but stressed that they would not be deported until they had served their sentences, if convicted by the courts.

In the operation conducted jointly by the BI with Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the Central Visayas Police, some 31 Indian nationals were invited for verification of their immigration status.

A certain Parmjeet Singh was arrested and ordered deported for committing fraud and misrepresentation.

The others were released after their lawyers presented valid visas proving they were legally staying in the country.

Source: Philippine News Agency