By MARTIN A. SADONGDONG
A TAIWANESE man was arrested after police found from his hotel unit an estimated P40 million worth of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu and about 20,000 rounds of caliber 9mm ammunition in Binondo, Manila, yesterday morning.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Guillermo Eleazar identified the suspect as Chang Chin Haw, 31, a native of Kao Hsiung, Taiwan, and temporarily billeted in a hotel on T. Mapua Street, Binondo, Manila.
According to Eleazar, the suspect had been the subject of a surveillance operation by the Manila Police District (MPD)’s District Police Intelligence Operation Unit (DPIOU) for several weeks based on information that he was allegedly involved in arms smuggling.
Citing a report from the MPD, Eleazar said the suspect had just left the premises of the hotel around 9 a.m. when he sensed he was being followed by cops.
The suspect then ran back to the hotel and a brief chase followed until operatives from MPD-DPIOU, Binondo Police Station (PS-11) and Sampaloc Police Station (PS-4) managed to locate him at Room 506.
Police then searched the suspect’s unit where they found seven plastic packs of suspected shabu with a total weight of six kilos and an estimated street value of R40 million.
Aside from this, police also recovered 388 pieces of sealed plastic packs containing various chemicals suspected to be ingredients for making illegal drugs and 20,000 rounds of caliber 9mm ammunition, Eleazar added.
“’Yung MPD may information na itong foreigner ay nagkakaroon ng mga transaction, bumibili ng bala at baril para i-smuggle out,” Eleazar said.
He added that the target location of the smuggled arms will be the subject of a follow-up investigation.
“Some of the drugs ay maaaring for distribution dito sa loob kaya malaking achievement ito for the MPD,” he added.
Also part of the continuing investigation, according to the Metro Manila police chief, is to determine if the suspect is involved in an organized drug syndicate operating in Manila and, possibly, other adjacent provinces.
“Hindi siya marunong mag-English o Tagalog so aalamin natin kung sino ang mga kasamahan niya,” Eleazar said.
He also said the MPD will coordinate with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Philippine National Police (PNP)’s Police Drug Enforcement Group (PDEG) to determine whether the suspected drugs were made locally.
However, Eleazar said: “Sa tingin natin puro smuggled in ‘yung drugs but we have to check.”
The suspect was brought to the MPD headquarters for inquest proceedings. Charges for violation of Republic Act 9165 or The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, and Republic Act 10591 for illegal possession of ammunition will be filed against him.
Meanwhile, the seized chemicals were sent to the PNP Crime Laboratory for tests.