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Hidden shabu lab uncovered in Batangas

By LYKA MANALO

IBAAN, Batangas – A clandestine laboratory reportedly able to produce twenty-five kilos of shabu per day was discovered inside a pepper farm in Barangay Sto. Niño, Ibaan, here, Thursday.

Arrested following the operation were two Chinese and three Filipinos.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino identified the arrested Chinese as Tian Baoquan and Guo Zixing.

The Filipinos were identified as electrician Eduardo Lorenzo, 59; driver Rosaleo Cesar, 49; and driver, Amancio Gallarde, 40.

Seized during the operation were 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 P125 million worth of shabu in one day,” Aquino noted.

Another Chinese national, identified as Xie Jiansheng was arrested in his residence in Merry Homes, Barangay San Francisco, Tagaytay City in relation to the case.

Jiansheng was identified by PDEA as the “handler” of the arrested Chinese nationals.

During a follow-up operation, another Chinese identified as Hong Dy and his driver, Nestor Baguio, were apprehended by PDEA in Lipa, Batangas.

Dy admitted he was hired as caretaker of the farm by a certain Mr. Sy but he denied knowledge of the shabu laboratory.

He divulged, however, that he used to smell “foul odor” whenever he visits the farm.

Dy said Mr. Sy only calls him every now and then to ask about the farm. He believes Mr. Sy is in the country based on the number reflected on his phone.

Aquino said PDEA’s surveillance of the farm started September last year based on the intelligence information provided by the National Narcotics Control Commission of the Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security of People’s Republic of China (NNCC-PROC).

“This laboratory is organized by a Hongkong Kingpin while the chemists are all connected with the Golden Triangle syndicate operating in Myanmar, Thailand and Laos,” Aquino said.

NNCC-PROC Director for Operations, Shen Yue said the success of the operation was a result of an agreement between China and the Philippines on the war against drugs.

“China government always insist zero tolerance attitudes against drug crimes and will fight against all drug criminals severely, no matter what nationality or citizenship they are,” Shen said.

Shen said China and The Philippines started sharing intelligence reports concerning illegal drug activities last year.

She said the Batangas laboratory was established only last February.

The chemicals were brought to PDEA Laboratory Service for qualitative and quantitative examination, while the arrested suspects are presently in the custody of PDEA-IIS.

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