A tip from a concerned citizen led to the discovery Sunday of a kitchen-type methamphetamine hydrochloride or “shabu” laboratory at a house inside an exclusive subdivision in Parañaque City.
The operation conducted by antinarcotics agents also resulted in the arrest of five Taiwanese nationals and the seizure of P150 million worth of drugs, shabu-making equipment and ingredients.
From the outside, the three-story house at 5 Santisima Trinidad St. in San Antonio Valley 12 looked like the ideal dwelling for a well-to-do family.
“You couldn’t imagine shabu was being cooked up there. It was a big house with a wide lawn,” Senior Superintendent Billy Beltran, Parañaque police chief, said in a phone interview.
Chief Inspector Roque Merdegia, spokesperson for the Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force of the Philippine National Police (PNP-AIDSOTF),—one of the teams which conducted Sunday’s operation—said the house stood on a 1,000-sq m lot which came with a sprawling garden.
Only the ground floor of the house was occupied while the second and third floors were empty.
A week ago, however, a concerned citizen who happened to be passing by the house saw several men “mixing what seemed to be chemicals” in the garden.
The information was promptly relayed to authorities and members of the PNP-AIDSOTF, the Southern Police District and Parañaque police put together an operation.
The police identified the arrested Taiwanese as Yu Kun Lin, Huang Yung Yung Chun, Cheng Yu Teng, Hsu Yun Pong and Tsai Horng.
All five men were roused from sleep when the joint police team conducted the raid around 9 a.m. Sunday based on a search warrant issued by Judge Fernando Sagun Jr. of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 78 on Friday.
“It was a small kitchen but it could manufacture up to 20 kilograms of shabu in one batch,” Merdegia said.
He added that among the drug ingredients seized during the operation were ephedrine, barium sulfate, chloroform, isopropyl alcohol and charcoal.
Also found inside the house was a huge freezer which contained about 20 kilograms of a crystallized substance which later tested positive for shabu.
According to Merdegia, the raid was the result of a month-long intelligence operation. “Last month, we got information that a syndicate of foreign nationals was planning to put up a shabu lab in Metro Manila so several units were activated to conduct surveillance work,” he said.
Then last week, they received confirmation after they learned of the Taiwanese men’s activities.
Six men had been spotted living in the house although only five were arrested Sunday, Merdegia added.
The arrested Taiwanese were placed in the custody of the police pending the filing of charges against them for violation of Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Earlier this year, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agents conducted several raids at a posh subdivision in Muntinlupa City, leading to
the discovery of kitchen-type shabu laboratories.
In the first raid conducted by PDEA agents on Jan. 6, five Chinese nationals were arrested in a house at 504 Acacia Ave. in Ayala Alabang Village. Seized during the operation were P15 million worth of drugs.
Two more raids conducted on Jan. 13 at 119 Kanlaon St. and 536 Country Club Drive inside the same subdivision also led to the seizure of more drugs and laboratory equipment.
By Nina Calleja
Philippine Daily Inquirer Sunday, August 19th, 2012
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