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Philippines on alert for Mexican drug cartel's assassins

MANILA, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine government said Friday that it is on the lookout for assassins supposedly sent by Mexico-based drug cartel Sinaloa to silence two Canadian nationals who were arrested earlier this month in a raid in Manila.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said she has instructed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to work together to prevent the entry of the assassins.

"There is really such information given to the NBI from their counterparts that there are two (assassins) sent or being sent here to access those they arrested, to silence them. We have alerted the Bureau of Immigration already," de Lima said.

The NBI on Jan. 15 arrested Canadian nationals James Riach and Barry Espadilla and a Filipino named Tristan Olazo during a raid of a luxury condominium unit which was transformed into a kitchen- type drug laboratory.

The three suspects were believed to be members of a big-time Canadian drug syndicate which has ties with Sinaloa.

Authorities also recovered methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, ecstasy and cocaine worth millions of pesos from the suspects.

BI Commissioner Siegfred Mison said he has directed immigration agents to be wary of suspicious-looking foreign nationals arriving in the country and to thoroughly check their records.

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