CAMP VICENTE LIM, Laguna — Anti-narcotics agents and members of the Mindoro Oriental provincial police office swooped down at dawn Saturday on a suspected “shabu” (methamphetamine hydrochloride) laboratory in the middle of a fishpond in Calapan City and confiscated chemicals which could produce P2.1 billion worth of the illegal drug also known as “ice.”
Senior Supt. Agrimero Cruz, Oriental Mindoro police director, said his men and personnel of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) raided the makeshift factory in Barangay Navotas at around 5:30 a.m.
He said the operation was covered by a search warrant issued by Calapan Regional Trial Court Judge Tomas Leynes.
Two suspected operators of the illegal drug manufacturing unit were able to escape using a motorized boat before authorities entered the area. Recovered from the place were seven drums of ephedrine which police said could produce more than 700 kilograms of shabu.
Also confiscated were 18 boxes of hydrochloric acid, 10 boxes of carbon chemical and other ingredients used in manufacturing shabu, also known as the “poor man’s cocaine.”
Police also confiscated a big generator and other electrical equipment.
Cruz said they received information about the operation of the shabu lab almost two months ago.
“We believe that the syndicate behind this was able to fully operate just after the May 14 elections,” he said in a mobile phone interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, parent company of INQUIRER.net.
He said to avoid any legal impediments, they patiently conducted surveillance operations to identify the operators of the shabu factory.
“We were then able to pinpoint at least three Chinese nationals who were seen frequenting the area,” he said. Cruz said despite its location, the shabu factory had sophisticated security equipment, including a surveillance camera.
“That’s why before we could even destroy the gate’s padlocks, the suspects have already boarded the boat and sped away,” he said.
Cruz said they are now tracing the other suspected members of the drug syndicate.
He said they will also investigate the owner of the fishpond which started to lease the area to the suspects last March.