Philippine police inadvertently arrest suspected drug smuggler

Aug. 28, 2013 at 6:04 AM
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MANILA, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- A Korean man arrested last week for allegedly holding his month-old child hostage and beating his Filipino partner is being held on suspicion of international drug trafficking.

Lee Man Kwon was arrested last week for suspected child abuse and wife battery, but police quickly learned they had picked up a man wanted by police in South Korea, the Philippine Star reported.

An arrest warrant had been issued by South Korea's Incheon District Court in January 2012 and circulated to Interpol.

Police arrested Kwon Aug. 20 in Fairview, an area of Quezon City on the island of Luzon and part of metropolitan Manila.

The Star reported the Korean arrest warrant alleged he was involved in smuggling methamphetamine to Guam in 2011.

Kwon allegedly had sent his travel expense report to unnamed accomplices in the Philippines, the Star reported.

His accomplices allegedly brought more than 2,000 grams of methamphetamine from the Philippines to Guam via Incheon Airport in Korea.

It was at Incheon Airport where the accomplices were arrested in December 2011.

Inspector Roberto Razon, head of the anti-drug section at Quezon City police, said when they arrested Kwon they found drug paraphernalia that later tested positive for traces of shabu -- a slang term for methamphetamine.

Kwon's partner, Diana Ross Young, reportedly claimed Kwon beat her after learning she had discovered a stash of methamphetamine and disposed of it.

Police said drugs charges were pending against Kwon, the Star reported.

Methamphetamine smuggling is rife in Southeast Asia with the Philippines, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and South Korea most popular as destinations for the crystal form before it is manufactured into pills

Guam has been getting increasingly important as a transhipment destination, a U.S. National Drug Intelligence Center report in 2003 said.

Guam is small, at about 209 square miles, but is the largest and southernmost island in the Mariana Islands chain, as well as the westernmost U.S. territory.

The NDIC report said marijuana has been the primary drug available in the territory, but crystal methamphetamine has become more prominent on Guam over the past decade.

The news website reported in February that three men had been arrested in the territory for suspected involvement in methamphetamine smuggling.

A cargo inspector at Guam International Airport noted a discrepancy between the listed contents of a DHL package and its weight and contour.

A search revealed 40 grams of methamphetamine, Guampdn,com reported.

A 31-year-old man in Guam was sentenced in August 2009 to nine years in prison and five years of supervised release after pleading guilty to smuggling 245 grams of crystal methamphetamine into Guam from the Philippines.

The Pacific Island Report said Richard Ferreras David of the Philippines had been on the Drug Enforcement Agency's watch-list. David will be deported to the Philippines after serving his prison term.

David arrived at Guam airport in December 2008 after a trip from the Philippines, carrying methamphetamine hydrochloride in an athletic supporter in his crotch area, Assistant U.S. Attorney Karon Johnson said.

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