Updated @ 11:04 p.m., Sept. 11, 2018
LUCENA CITY — Police on Tuesday arrested three Chinese men and their female companion in an antidrug operation in the coastal town of Infanta, Quezon province, where materials used in the manufacture of “shabu” (crystal meth) were also seized.
Senior Supt. Osmundo de Guzman, Quezon police director, said a combined team from the Philippine National Police and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), arrested Tian-You Jhao, Ching-Huang Wang, Ching-Weng Lin and Kimberly de Vera at Barangay Dinahican at 4 a.m.
Chief Insp. Lowell Atienza, Infanta police chief, said the suspects were aboard a boat that was anchored on the shores of the village.
He said policemen found in the boat eight sacks of still unknown chemicals, two sacks of white powder and 22 gallons of liquid believed used in the producing illegal drugs.
De Guzman said laboratory tests confirmed that the chemicals were raw materials used in manufacturing shabu.
“After laboratory tests, there were no shabu [or] finished products found [in the boat],” De Guzman said.
He said authorities were still determining the value of the seized materials as of Tuesday afternoon.
Atienza said the operation was the result of several months of intelligence gathering and surveillance in the village.
Rene Pereña, Dinahican village chief, said the suspects last month rented a warehouse in their village, the biggest community in Infanta, which hosted a port where fishing and passenger vessels docked.
“People here just come and go. But once they stay here, we conduct discreet investigation [to check their background and activities],” Pereña said.
The warehouse is owned by a local businessman who planned to turn it into a store, according to Pereña.
De Guzman said one of the suspects had been renting a house in the town proper before his group took over the warehouse.
He ordered police chiefs in Quezon’s 34 coastal towns to monitor their coastline to prevent drug smuggling.
Drop-off point for illegal drugs
The 1,066-kilometer coastline of Quezon, in the northern part of the province, has been known in the past to be a drop-off point for illegal drug shipments.
In June, police recovered four packs of cocaine weighing four kilograms and with an estimated street value of around P21.2 million from a fisherman in Infanta.
Earlier, fishermen from the island town of Perez, Quezon, also found a total of 28 kilos of cocaine, worth P280 million, and 16.5 liters of a liquid chemical that can help produce about 13 kilos of cocaine worth P130 million.
Another group of Quezon fishers also recovered in the area a “sophisticated, high-tech” tracking device allegedly used in monitoring drug shipments.
In August 2000, government forces arrested six Chinese nationals who were smuggling 365 kilograms of shabu, worth P730 million, in the coastal town of Sariaya off Tayabas Bay.
The following year, policemen and soldiers arrested a Quezon island town mayor and his security aides at a police checkpoint in the Real highway.
The island town of Panukulan lies on the coast near the Pacific Ocean.
The group was caught while transporting some 503 kilos of shabu, worth over P1 billion and placed in several sacks, to Metro Manila using the municipality’s ambulance.
In 2008, authorities raided a shabu laboratory in the coastal town of Real in northern Quezon and seized some 70 kilos of shabu with an estimated street value of P300 million. –With a report from Inquirer Research
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