By Nelson Flores, Ll.B., MSCK
THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency has dismantled in Malabon City on Friday a clandestine ecstasy laboratory owned and operated by a Hong Kong based criminal syndicate.
PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said two suspected drug personalities, including one Chinese national, were arrested as a result of the operation. He identified the suspects as Jiang Minshan, 53, a native of Fujian, China; and his Filipino driver-cohort 59-year old Lauro Santiago, alias Larry Santos.
“This is the first time in the country’s drug law enforcement history that a clandestine ecstasy (an illegal party-drug) laboratory was closed down,” Aquino said adding that the City of Malabon operation is “linked to the recently dismantled clandestine shabu laboratory inside Hingoso Farm, Barangay Sto. Niño, Ibaan, Batangas.”
At the same time, the PDEA chief disclosed that Minshan, together with the four arrested Chinese chemists in Batangas, and Tagaytay, are members of Dragon Wu International Drug Syndicate operating in Asia. They four are also connected to the infamous “Golden Triangle”– notoriously known as the world’s foremost drug-producing region operating near the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. (Read More: http://beyonddeadlines.com/2018/04/12/pdea-arrested-four-suspected-chinese-illegal-drug-manufacturers-and-dismantles-a-clandestine-shabu-ecstasy-laboratory-in-batangas/)
According to the PDEA, on the morning of April 13, joint elements of the PDEA, the Philippine Army Intelligence and the Philippine National Police raided a three-storey residence building along Dela Cruz Street, Barangay Tinajeros in Malabon City following recent intelligence account about an ecstasy laboratory in that building.
Seized inside the building were large amounts of controlled precursors and essential chemicals (CPECs) used in the production of ecstasy, including safrole which is used as a precursor in the synthesis of the illegal drug; amphetamine-type stimulants; and various laboratory equipment and apparatus, the PDEA added.
Aquino said there is a big possibility that the illegal facility in Malabon is also used as a testing site to experiment on new kinds of amphetamine-type stimulants.
“Because some of the CPECs confiscated are not ingredients for ecstasy production,” Aquino observed.
The discovery of the two illegal facilities in Batangas and Malabon came about due to the intelligence support provided by the Office of the National Narcotics Control Commission (ONNCC), Narcotics Control Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security, People’s Republic of China to the PDEA.
“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. The arrested suspects were under surveillance for seven months prior to the operations,” Aquino said.
According to Chinese intelligence reports, Aquino said, the shabu and ecstasy-producing laboratories were established by the Hong Kong-based Dragon Wu International Syndicate.
The Chinese authorities also indicate that the criminal organization found the Philippines a possible market and transshipment point for synthetic drugs such as shabu and ecstasy due to the country’s geographical location, demarcated by porous borders and vast coastlines, a factor in the undetected movement of illegal drugs through shipment, Aquino added.
“Before, ecstasy in capsule/tablet and liquid forms are usually smuggled inbound. Now with the influx of Chinese chemists into the country, liquid ecstasy is being cooked locally. It is a good thing that we have discovered the laboratory earlier before they start operating full blast,” Aquino said.
“Besides the Chinese, African Drug Syndicates (ADS) and Mexican-Sinaloa Drug Cartel, we now have “The Golden Triangle” to contend with. Fortunately, PDEA has crossed paths with the latter before they can establish their illicit drug trade in the country,” the PDEA chief said.