IN the wake of the discovery of a major shabu and ecstasy laboratory in Ibaan, Batangas and Malabon City last week, the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 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.
The PNP, headed by Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa and the PDEA, chaired by Director General Aaron N. Aquino, said the support of the public is vital in unmasking drug lords and manufacturers in line with the massive war against illegal drug trafficking and abuse.
In cooperation with the China National Narcotics Control Commission, the PDEA led a government operation which smashed a secret drug laboratory in a sprawling livestock farm in Ibaan, Batangas. Four suspected Chinese shabu ‘cooks’ and their four Filipino helpers were arrested.
Aquino said the clandestine shabu and ecstasy factory believed capable of producing a minimum of 25 kilograms of the so-called ‘poor man’s cocaine’ worth P125 million a day was discovered inside the 1.3-hectare Hingoso Farm in Barangay Sto. Niño in Ibaan town.
Seized during the operation were large amounts of controlled precursors and essential chemicals (CPECs) used in the manufacture of shabu consisting of 1-phenyl -2propanone, methylamine, acetic acid, sodium hydroxide, sodium acetate, potassium iodate, sodium sulfate, tartaric acid, boric acid, methanol, ethanol and ammonium hydroxide; and safrole, a chemical used in the production of ecstasy, a party drug.
A follow-up operation in Malabon City led to the dismantling of a drug laboratory believed being used to manufacture the designed drug called ‘Ecstasy’. Another Chinese national and his Filipino driver were arrested during the PDEA-led operation.
According to Aquino, the suspects are connected to the infamous “Golden Triangle” -- notoriously known as the world’s foremost drug-producing region operating near the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar.
The PDEA chief said any citizen can report the presence of suspected illegal drug activities and presence 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.
The PDEA wants 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 runs 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.