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Airport authorities arrest ‘package padala’ scammer

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) operatives apprehended a suspect on a complaint filed by a woman who was nearly victimized by the “package padala scam.”

Shirley Campones sought the help of the airport police on Thursday, suspecting that the person who was asking for USD11,000 in exchange for a package sent to her from abroad, was a scam.

The package was supposedly sent by a man who Campones met in the online, identified as Fred McNeil.

Campones said McNeil told her that he was held by Customs in an airport in Turkey due to some jewelry found in his baggage.

Campones said a texter asked for a meet-up on April 12 at a restaurant at the departure level of NAIA Terminal 1 saying that he/she already has the baggage from McNeil, adding that she was advised to bring USD11,000 in exchange for it.

Suspecting that it could be a scam, Campones told the airport police that she could give only a partial amount of the USD11,000.

Operatives of the airport police planned an entrapment operation and accompanied Campones at the meet up place.

They discreetly monitored Campones until a black foreign national, suspected to be the texter, approached Campones.

While eating snacks, Campones handed a white envelope with money to the suspect, as part of their agreement to release the package.

At that instance, operatives of the airport police approached and arrested the foreigner.

The suspect was identified as Miriam Kanoute, 34, single, Maly national, with address in Makati City.

Campones said Kanoute was the same foreigner she previously met in a mall in Makati.

Kanoute was then with another foreigner Ronald Morris. The meet up was also regarding the supposed package for Campones.

Kanoute was brought to the Pasay Prosecutor’s Office for inquest proceedings for Violation of Article 315 or Syndicated Swindling/Estafa of the Revised Penal Code and violation of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

Kanoute is now temporarily detained at the MIAA police headquarters pending issuance of an inquest resolution from Pasay.

For his part, MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal lauded the MIAA-PIID operatives for their swift action.

“I call on everyone to be careful with their dealings with people they do not know. It pays to be cautious in this regard. We advice the public to seek the help of police authorities in case of doubt," Monreal said in a statement Saturday.