COMBINED agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Philippine National Police yesterday began a search for an estimated one ton of shabu worth P6.8 billion believed to have been successfully taken out of the Manila International Container Port by a Chinese-led Golden Triangle syndicate, PDEA chair Director General Aaron Aquino said yesterday.
The search was launched after operatives of the PDEA, the PNP Drug Enforcement Group and the Police Regional Office 4-A on Wednesday found the syndicate’s storage facility at Warehouse Unit 4, Lot 1-18, CRS Subdivision in Bgy. F. Reyes, General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite.
Aquino, joined by PRO4-A director Chief Supt. Edward Carranza, PNP-DEG director Chief Supt. Albert Ignatius Ferro, Cavite Police Provincial Office director Sr. Supt. William Segun and PDEA Deputy Director Generals Ismael Fajardo and Ruel Lasala, presented four containers already emptied of their drug contents right inside the raided drug facility.
According to Aquino, four magnetic lifters very similar to the one which yielded 500 kilograms of the “poor man’s cocaine” worth P3.4 billion last Tuesday were found inside the raided Cavite warehouse.
“Last August 7, during a press conference in MICT after PDEA, PNP and Bureau of Customs intercepted a container with more or less 500 kilos of shabu, I mentioned that I have a gut feeling that four or five similar containers have slipped past through the country into our streets,” the PDEA chief said.
“True enough, due to the diligent backtracking of PDEA agents from NCR and Region 4-A and relentless assistance of PNP, we were able to locate four magnetic lifters in a warehouse located in Lot 1-18, CRS Subdivision, Bgy. F. Reyes, GMA Cavite. These magnetic lifters are similar to the seized magnetic lifter in MICT. However, upon the inspection of PEA and PNP last Wednesday, August 9, the magnetic filters were found emptied,” he said.
Aquino said that to be sure, the PDEA National Capital Region headed by Director Joel Plaza deployed two K—9 (Narcotics Detection Dogs) in the area on Thursday afternoon to check whether the lifters were used to transport illegal drugs.
“The K-9 dogs positively detected traces of illegal drugs.
This only proves that these magnetic filters were used to bring in illegal drugs in our country,” he said.
Aquino said that he and the PNP believe that the lifters were part of the huge drug shipment intercepted last Tuesday at the Manila port area.
“As per PDEA, we estimated that these four magnetic filets contained approximately 1,000 kilos of shabu. It has an estimated value of P6.8 billion. This is very saddening. P6.8 billion worth of illegal drugs are now circulating anew in our streets,” Aquino said.
The PDEA chief said they have gathered initial information that the illegal drugs came from Taiwan, Republic of China and the syndicate only used Malaysia as transshipment point.
“PDEA also believes that the Golden Triangle syndicate is behind the shipment. PDEA with the PNP are continuously conducting backtracking investigation to determine the personalities involved in this operation,” he said.
“Initially, we have at least 19 persons of interest including, 11 Chinese nationals. We cannot reveal their names yet because of our continuous operations. PDEA also obtained several documents, including various business documents, checks and shipping documents that we are now reviewing to aid our investigation. We also have CCTV footage at hand,” he added.
Aquino said they are already in close coordination with their international counterparts from China, Malaysia and even the United States Drug Enforcement Administration to help them in their ongoing investigation.
The PDEA-NCR and the PDEA Region 4-A headed by Director Adrian Alvariño have joined hands with the PNP-DEG and the PRO4-A in tracking down the members of the syndicate and in searching for the missing drug contraband.
Journal Group sources earlier said that a Chinese drug syndicate involved in the smuggling of huge volume of shabu in Southeast Asia is behind the smuggling of the multi-billion worth of shabu at the MICT.
“This is a Chinese drug ring involved in the smuggling of methamphetamine crystals from Myanmar to Malaysia to Manila or the Triple M Connection,” said one of the officials involved in the major drug bust on condition of anonymity.
PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde has ordered all concerned PNP units to provide full support to the ongoing investigation of the foiled drug smuggling try to identify, arrest and charge the smugglers in court.
With Dennis Abrina