P4B worth of ‘shabu’ seized; 4 Chinese held
MANILA, Philippines—At least P4 billion worth of shabu and other illegal drugs were seized from two rented warehouses in Pampanga province on Friday, leading to the arrest of four Chinese nationals believed to be involved in the manufacture of “shabu,” or methamphetamine hydrochloride.
Antinarcotics agents raided two warehouses in two barangays in San Fernando, Pampanga, that authorities said were operating as shabu-making laboratories, and seized a whopping 455 kilograms of the illegal substance.
In the first raid in Greenville Subdivision in Barangay San Jose, the agents arrested three Chinese men, Jayson Lee, 28, Willy Yap, 26, and Neil Tan 26.
A Chinese woman, Ying Huang, reportedly Lee’s wife, was arrested in the raid that followed on a second warehouse in Richtown Subdivision in Barangay Sindalan. The three men are reportedly from Xiamen, China, while the woman is from Fujian, China.
Joint PDEA, PNP operation
The noontime operation, carried out by a joint team from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Philippine National Police’s Anti Illegal Drugs Special Operation Task Group (AIDSOTF), was authorized by two search warrants issued by Judge Fernando Sagun Jr. of the Regional Trial Court Branch 78 in Quezon City, said Chief Insp. Roque Merdegia, the AIDSOTF spokesperson.
According to Merdegia, the two warehouses were being rented since January and functioned as shabu laboratories.
At the first warehouse, authorities recovered 185 kg of shabu, worth P925 million, 250 kg of ephedrine, a precursor in the production of shabu, and 725 kg of suspected unidentified drugs.
About 39 sacks containing suspected drugs were found inside a parked delivery truck inside the warehouse, while seven balikbayan boxes containing the finished product were hidden inside a Mitsubishi Montero.
Other suspected drugs were found inside a traveling bag and luggage, Merdegia said.
“The shabu alone is worth around P2.3 billion. Plus the ephedrine and suspected methamphetamine, it might be worth P4 billion all in all,” Merdegia said.
PDEA Director General Arturo Cacdac Jr. said 10 of the 39 sacks contained the 250 kg of ephedrine. Each sack of the substance would be worth P200,000, he said.
The rest of the sacks tested positive for methamphetamine, Merdegia said.
Recovered from the second warehouse were 12 boxes containing 270 kg of shabu worth P2 billion.
A PDEA official in Central Luzon region, who asked not to be named for lack of authority to talk about the operation, said further tests were needed to confirm whether the seized substance was indeed shabu.
“The initial test we conducted was inconclusive. The results were positive, then negative, then positive again, and so on,” he said.
PDEA spokesperson Derrick Carreon said the Special Enforcement Service led by Director Ismael Fajardo began conducting surveillance operations on the warehouses as early as April.
Cacdac said the suspects who had a trading permit had introduced themselves as businessmen when they rented the warehouse at Greenville Subdivision.
The owner told authorities that the facility was often closed, which he said made him suspicious.
The arrested Chinese will be charged under Republic Act No. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act. With a report from Jun Malig, Inquirer Central Luzon
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