By Nelson Flores, Ll.B., MSCK
THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency on Thursday arrested eight suspected members of an international drug syndicate, including four Chinese nationals, and dismantled a clandestine illegal-drugs laboratory in an idyllic farm in Batangas, a province south of Manila.
PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said the successful operation is the result of an intelligence support provided to the PDEA by the Office of the National Narcotics Control Commission (ONNCC) of the People’s Republic of China.
He said the discovered laboratory is being used to manufacture methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) and ecstasy tablets, a party drug.
According to the Chinese intelligence reports provided to the PDEA, the shabu and ecstasy-producing laboratory in Batangas was organized and financed by a Hong Kong-based drug kingpin. It further disclosed that the Chinese nationals are known for their ties with syndicates operating in the “Golden Triangle,” the world’s foremost drug-producing region operating on the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar.
“A tip-off from ONNCC was first relayed to PDEA International Cooperation and Foreign Affairs Service (ICFAS) that Chinese chemists are flying in and out of the country from September to October 2017,” Aquino said.
Aquino further revealed that a bilateral intelligence and investigation meeting between PDEA and ONNCC delegates was held last February 23, in the Philippines where the initial details of the joint operation were discussed.
The ONNCC delegates made a return trip to the country and stayed until the discovery of the shabu laboratory.
Records showed that among those arrested where three chemists – Tian Baoquan, Guo Zixing and Hong Dy – who put up the clandestine laboratory while the other Chinese national, Xie Jiansheng, acted as their manager/handler. Their Filipino cohorts were also identified as Eduardo Lorenzo, an electrician; Rosaleo Cesar and Nestor Baguio, drivers; and Amancio Gallarde, an errand boy.
Aquino disclosed that Baoquan, Zixing, Lorenzo, Cesar, and Gallarde were arrested in the farm where the clandestine drug laboratory is located while Dy, his driver Nestor Baguio and Xie Jiansheng were apprehended in separate follow-up operations in different cities in Batangas. He also said “500 grams of suspected shabu worth PhP2.5 million were seized from Jiansheng.”
The PDEA chief said the clandestine laboratory was discovered while the agency, in cooperation with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the local Philippine National Police unit, were serving a search warrant on Hingoso Farm, Barangay Sto. Niño, Ibaan, Batangas.
Aside from the arrests, the PDEA also seized during the operation large amounts of controlled precursors and essential chemicals (CPECs) used in the manufacture of shabu consisting of 1-phenyl -2 propanone, methylamine, acetic acid, sodium hydroxide, sodium acetate, potassium iodate, sodium sulfate, tartaric acid, boric acid, methanol, ethanol and ammonium hydroxide; and safrole, a chemical used in the production of ecstasy, a party drug.
“The shabu laboratory has the capacity to produce 25 kilos or PhP125 million worth of shabu in one day,” Aquino noted.
All seized evidence were brought to PDEA Laboratory Service for qualitative and quantitative examination, while the arrested suspects are presently in the custody of PDEA-Intelligence and Investigation Service.
As this developed, Aquino thanked the Chinese authorities for their help that led to the busting of this group.
“On behalf of the PDEA and the Philippine government, I would like to express our gratitude to our Chinese counterparts for their intelligence support and cooperation as we vowed to protect our nations from the threat of illegal drugs,” Aquino said.
A revitalized cooperation and collaboration between Chinese and Philippine drug law enforcement authorities was established after the state visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to China in 2016. During the said visit, the PDEA and ONNCC signed the Protocol On Cooperation On Intelligence Sharing and Joint Anti-drug Operations.
(Read More: http://beyonddeadlines.com/2016/10/23/ph-drug-enfocement-agency-chinas-anti-narcotics-body-sign-protocol-of-cooperation/)