THE Philippine National Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency leaderships yesterday called anew on the public to watch out for 17 tell-tale signs of a clandestine shabu laboratory in their neighborhood and become instant millionaires if they can give the tip that will lead to the neutralization of the drug facility.
PNP chief, Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. de la Rosa and PDEA chair, Director General Isidro S. Lapeña said the support of the public is vital in unmasking drug lords and manufacturers in the country which is currently engaged in a massive war against illegal drug trafficking and abuse.
The PDEA chief said any citizen can report the presence of suspected illegal drug activities and of a clandestine laboratory in their community by texting the following PDEA 24/7 SMS/Text Center’s numbers: 09998887332 for Smart users, 09279150616 and 09255737332 for Globe and Sun Cellular users and the PDEA hotline 09393960627 and landline numbers (02) 920-0735 and (02) 920-0736.
Many drug tipsters have become instant millionaires after helping the PDEA and the PNP smash secret shabu laboratories and capture big-time drug traffickers.
So far this year, eight clandestine shabu laboratories had been crushed by authorities. Five of them located in Pamplona, Las Piñas City; Subic, Zambales; Barangay Apolonia, Quezon City; Magalang, Pampanga; and Arayat, Pampanga, were dismantled during the first 100 days of the Duterte administration.
Last week, Police Regional Office 3 director, Chief Superintendent Aaron N. Aquino called on political leaders and their constituents in Nueva Ecija to cooperate in locating possible shabu laboratories in the province. “There is a strong possibility that a shabu laboratory is lurking somewhere in Nueva Ecija as shown by the big number of surrenderees,” the member of Philippine Military Academy Class 1985 said.
The official also scolded barangay chairmen who have failed to make a significant contribution to the ongoing war versus drugs. “We just haven’t found it yet but I really believe there is a shabu lab in Nueva Ecija. Even Davao has,” said Aquino while noting that clandestine shabu factories had` already been smashed by authorities in the Central Luzon provinces of Aurora, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales.
“All they (barangay chairmen) have to do is to check out if there is a shabu lab or not or if this factory is into shabu making or not,” he said.
Last month, PDEA and PNP authorities smashed what has been considered as the biggest shabu laboratory in the country, located at the foot of Mt. Arayat in Barangay San Juan Baño in Arayat, Pampanga. Officials were about to conduct fire safety and sanitary inspection at the establishment but were surprised that it was abandoned.
The raiding team immediately inspected the compound where they found a clandestine shabu laboratory which can reportedly manufacture some 50 to 100 kilograms of shabu per cycle.
Lapeña said they want the public to watch out for the following signs that could indicate the presence of a clandestine laboratory:
a.- Presence of large water tanks; b.- Thick electrical wires for houses or facilities which should have normal-sized wires; c.- Laboratory materials surrounding the properties like empty chemical bottles, drums and other types of chemical containers; d.- Specially-constructed chimney or ventilation fan which run for extended hours to get rid of strong odors; e.- Strong chemical odors (solvent-like) coming from the facility;
f. - Persons in the premises seldom come out but they do come out to smoke, to avoid igniting highly explosive chemicals inside; g.- Excessive or irregular water waste coming out of the premises; h.- Presence of waste chemicals; i. - Discarded materials used to store chemicals; j.- Residents who burn their trash instead of discarding them; k.- Use of security cameras; l.- Odd locks and bars on windows; m. Heavy security like the presence of watch dogs, high fences and barb wires; n.- Every opening of the facility is covered or tinted; o. Persons going about their business at odd hours; p. No traffic during daytime, but traffic at wee hours; and q.- Frequent visitors with expensive cars.
The PDEA chief said the public should keep in mind the 17 tell-tale signs that a secret drug facility likely operating in his/her neighborhood. “We are releasing the list anew to promote public interest, raise awareness of the risks and dangers of shabu laboratories and seek support in finding these illegal facilities,” he said.
The retired 3-star police general assured that the identities of the tipsters who will be able to help them successfully dismantle illegal drug facilities and significantly suppress the drug supply in the market will be kept in utmost secrecy.
He said that manufacturing trends have also evolved, from large scale/industrial type production to small scale/kitchen type labs. Another trend that was observed during the clan lab dismantling operations in the country is that the production processes were done in stages, with separate and distinct areas for each phase unlike the traditional method of doing the whole production process in one location.
This method lessens the possibility of detection of the entire production site used.
Lapeña said that ‘dead or dying trees, plants and grass in the immediate vicinity are no longer frequently observed as signs of presence of shabu laboratory but there is a recent resurgence of the use of agricultural animal facilities (pig farms) and sea vessels as fronts for illegal drug production.
Shabu is manufactured through one cooking cycle which is about an average of 2-3 days. An industrial-type shabu laboratory can produce more than 50 kilograms of shabu in one complete cooking cycle. “You can imagine how much illegal drugs it can produce in a matter of days,” the PDEA chief explained.