Three Chinese nationals and three Filipinos are undergoing investigation following their arrest and the confiscation of suspected “shabu” (methamphetamine hydrochloride) initially estimated at more than 500 kilograms worth P3 billion, in separate operations in a house and a fastfood restaurant in San Juan City on Friday.
The seizure was described as the largest under President Duterte, who has mounted a bloody war on drugs since he took office in July.
First to be arrested by operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation’s anti-illegal drugs task force, in coordination with the San Juan Police, were Salim Arapat, Abdulah Mahmod, Bashier Jamal, and Chinese national David Go in a buybust operation in the premises of a fastfood restaurant on Annapolis street, Barangay Greenhills, at 2:10 p.m. a report from the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said.
Seized from the four men were around 100 kilograms of suspected shabu and their vehicle, a Honda Jazz, with conduction sticker DQ-5167.
Minutes later, at 2:45 p.m., two Chinese nationals were arrested in a house on Mangga St., corner Infanta, Barangay Little Baguio.
Asked about the identities of the two Chinese, Roel Bolivar, chief of the task force, said: “Still no names. We are still investigating.”
The NCRPO report said that the identities of the Chinese were being looked into by the Bureau of Immigration.
Bolivar said that the arrests took place during the service of a search warrant in the premises.
He did not specify the amount of shabu discovered in the house, saying an inventory was still taking place. But wire service reports quoted a police spokesperson as saying that the total haul was 560 kilograms in 56 bags with a street value of P3.35 billion.
Asked how much the confiscated drugs were worth, Chief Insp. Kimberly Molitas of the NCRPO said she could not say. “It’s because the market value has increased already,” she said.
Officials said the drugs may have been manufactured elsewhere and stored in the house for distribution. The raids were conducted by the NBI backed by other police.
More than 6,000 suspected drug users and dealers have been killed in Mr. Duterte’s antidrug campaign, alarming US and UN officials and human rights advocates.
Over 2,000 of the slain suspects died in purported gunbattles with the police, including detained Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., who was said to have hidden a gun and illegal drugs in his cell and reportedly chose to shoot it out with policemen in a clash last month that killed him and another inmate in the Leyte subprovincial jail.
The NBI said following an inquiry that the mayor was killed in a rubout by the policemen, who raided the jail, but Mr. Duterte backed the officers and said he believed their claim that the mayor died in a firefight despite the agency’s finding.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein asked Philippine authorities on Tuesday to investigate Mr. Duterte for murder after he claimed to have killed people in the past and also to examine the “appalling epidemic of extrajudicial killings” committed during his antidrug crackdown.
Mr. Duterte angrily responded to Zeid’s call with an expletives-laden outburst on Thursday, saying the UN human rights chief has no right to order around a government helping fund the world body.
“You son of a bitch I’m paying your salary,” Duterte said. “You idiot, you don’t tell me what to do.” —WITH A REPORT FROM AP