MANILA, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation seized P314 million worth of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) and arrested three Chinese nationals during a raid on a drying station in Tondo, Manila, last week.
In a press conference presided by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Monday, the NBI said the operation revealed a new modus operandi of bringing in shabu from China to the Philippines.
The NBI has found wet crystalline granules that require further drying in aluminum foil tea bags, which is believed to be shipped in this unfinished state to avoid detection and prevent drug mules from stealing it.
The illegal drugs in aluminum foil bags with Chinese characters were possibly declared as Chinese tea or medicine.
Suspects Ong Tsen Siong, Lee Chuan Chiat and Sy Tian Kok were detained in the NBI jail and charged with violation of Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
The NBI seized 62.7 kilograms of shabu at 704 Cathay Mansions on Mayhaligue Street in Tondo. The operation was covered by a search warrant issued by the Malabon Regional Trial Court.
A monthlong surveillance was conducted by the joint operatives of the Investigative and Intelligence Services under Deputy Directors Ruel Lasala and Reynaldo Esmeralda, respectively, with head agent Rommel Vallejo, chief of Anti-Organized Crime Division, as team leader.
Also seized were humidifiers, small cloth dryer, drying pans, weighing scales, several plastic containers, vacuum sealers, and vacuum packaging machines.
Further investigation in coordination with the Bureau of Customs will be conducted to establish how the shabu entered the country.