Cops bust P1.3-B ‘shabu’ shipment
Police arrested four men and seized P1.3 billion worth of “shabu” in Parañaque City on Friday in the second large drug bust in Metro Manila in 10 days.
The men were in a van loaded with five wooden crates containing 272 kilograms of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) that they were transporting to Cavite City when they were intercepted by police, said Senior Supt. Bartolome Tobias, head of the Philippine National Police anti-illegal drugs task force.
The arrests followed a tip from an informant.
Last week, the National Bureau of Investigation arrested four Canadian men suspected of trafficking drugs from Mexico in separate raids on posh condominiums.
Agents recovered P100 million worth of cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA, which is similar to ecstasy.
Tobias said police were investigating an “unholy alliance” between Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel and Chinese drug syndicates operating in the Philippines.
“We have to move fast to nip this partnership in the bud,” he said.
It was not immediately clear if Friday’s seizure was related to last week’s arrests.
Chief Insp. Roque Merdequia, a spokesperson for the anti-illegal drugs task force, identified those arrested on Friday as Robert Tan, 63, and Oliver Tan, 26, of Moonwalk Village, Parañaque, and their companions Mark San Gabriel Jr., 29, of Bulacan province and Felino Diamse, 49, of Ilocos Norte province.
A police source said the shabu was probably owned by a Chinese drug syndicate and could have been brought into the Philippines by boat from China.
The source said Tan could be a top-level member of the group supervising the transport of the illegal drug.
Tan’s group possibly had an escort, but the escort managed to evade the authorities.
“With the volume of the shipment, it’s likely they had an armed escort,” the source said.
He said the shabu was brought into the country as a “finished product” and it was “ready for repacking.”
Merdequia said 4 kg of cocaine were also seized from the suspects.
“The illegal drugs were placed in 10 sacks held in six sealed wooden crates,” he said.
The shabu was of high quality and its estimated value was P5 million per kilo, he said.
Tan claimed an unidentified woman asked him to pick up a cargo from a hotel in Parañaque and bring it to Cavite City.
He said his group was paid P70,000 for the job.
Tan said he did not know the cargo was shabu. He said he did not check the contents of the crates, as the woman assured him there was nothing illegal about the cargo.
But an informant tipped off the police to the shabu, Merdequia said.
Police agents tailed the van from Sentosa subdivision and stopped it on Marina Avenue in Dongalo village in Parañaque.
An inspection of the cargo led to the discovery of the shabu and the arrest of the Tans and their companions.
Merdequia said the four men would be charged with transporting illegal drugs, a nonbailable offense.
Last year, Philippine authorities seized a record P4.6 billion worth of shabu, seven times more than the combined amount over the previous four years, according to Arturo Cacdac, chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
Another P5.3 billion worth of other drugs and drug-making materials were also seized in 2013.
More than 8,600 people, including 73 foreigners, were arrested on suspicion of drug possession and trafficking. With a report from AP
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