Police on Tuesday charged six persons with transporting and possession of 432 kilograms of “shabu” worth at least P2 billion and which were smuggled into Subic.
Charged were Albert Chin, Emmanuel Tobias, Coronel Disierto, Romeo Manalo, Joselito Escueta and Dennis Domingo.
In a 14-page complaint filed in the Department of Justice, Supt. Ismael Fajardo Jr., head of the Philippine National Police Anti-Illegal Drug Special Operations Task Force, said the six were found in possession and preparing to transport boxes of shabu.
The illegal operation was busted after an undercover agent was able to penetrate the gang as a helper.
The undercover agent met Chin on Aug. 3 and was sent on an errand by Chin to a house in Barangay (village) Sto. Tomas on Aug. 9 to pick up shipments of drugs.
When the undercover agent went to the house on Aug. 9, he found other people packing red foil packs into “balikbayan” boxes. The agent, according to the complaint, found “crystalline substances believed to be shabu” inside the foil packs.
Chin and the other suspects were loading the shipment into a white Nissan Urvan with license plate No. XBX-507 when the undercover agent called in his fellow policemen and made the arrests.
Two of the suspects tried to escape aboard a black Innova until police caught up with them in Floridablanca in Pampanga.
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) officials said it is possible for illegal drug shipments to enter undetected because of the lack of harbor patrols in Subic Bay.
Roberto Garcia, SBMA chair, made the statement to deny a claim by Mayor Jefferson Khonghun, of Subic town in Zambales, that the P2 billion in drugs seized from a house in the town were smuggled through the free port.
The shipment of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) was seized by a police task force on Sunday as it was being loaded in a vehicle by several men in Sta. Monica subdivision.
In an Aug. 11 report, Senior Inspector Jelson Dayupay, Subic police chief, said the arrests were made after a five-month surveillance operation.
Khonghun said the illegal drugs could have been brought to Subic town by sea.
“But who is patrolling [Subic Bay]? It could not have gotten to Subic without passing through [Subic Bay]. There is no other route it could have gone through,” he said.
To get to Subic town, vessels have to pass through Grande Island, the area being developed into a coal-fired plant and the Hanjin shipyard, Khonghun said.
But Garcia said: “We monitor all ships entering Subic Bay, except bancas and small boats.”
“There is no evidence drugs entered through the free port. [It is] possible it was [smuggled through a] small boat or banca direct into Subic town,” Garcia said.
Garcia said the SBMA’s vessel tracking system could not pick out bancas because these are too small. With a report from Robert Gonzaga, Inquirer Central Luzon