Big stash of shabu ingredient seized in Northern Luzon
APAYAO, Philippines – Fourteen containers of a chemical substance essential in the processing of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu were recovered by police and drug enforcers in the boundary of Cagayan and Apayao provinces on Saturday, August 6.
Joint elements of the Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the regional police offices of Cagayan Valley and Cordillera secured the 14 jugs, equivalent to 84 gallons, of ethyl ether.
Police recovered the chemical substance at the boundary of Ayaga village in Ballesteros, Cagayan and Malekkeg village in Sta Marcela, Apayao.
Initial findings of the PNP Crime Laboratory showed that the ethyl ether discovered could be worth P1.9 billion if used in making shabu.
The 84 gallons could be used in processing more than 635 kilos of shabu, amounting to nearly P2 billion.
The containers were first discovered by village councilman Prudencio Labbao but he did not report it to authorities for fear he might get killed like his younger brother.
Labbao told reporters he had seen his younger brother Marlon, who was killed by unidentified gunmen on June 22, with the containers. He was told that someone would pick them up.
Labbao did not know the whereabouts of the shabu ingredient until he discovered them in a banana plantation while he was cleaning up after Tropical Storm Carina.
He said he already knew that his brother Marlon was using illegal drugs, and that Marlon himself was in the village watchlist of drug suspects.
He added that he did not know his brother was involved in drug trading.
"Talagang nagdo-droga yung kapatid ko kaya palagi ko siyang pinapagalitan [at] pinagsasabihan," Labbao said. (My brother is really into illegal drugs so I was always scolding and advising him to stop.)
Labbao's brother is the number 1 drug personality in Sta Marcela town.
Investigators are looking into possible links of the discovered chemical substances to the dismantled shabu laboratory in Lasam town in Cagayan in February 2015.
AIDG Director Bert Ferro said there might be a connection between the two operations since the containers have a resemblance to the containers recovered in the Lasam shabu laboratory.
This possible linkage, Ferro said, gave them a headstart in their investigation. It could lead them to high-value drug personalities and syndicates.
This was the second big catch of the anti-drug enforcers near the coastal areas of Cagayan.
Cagayan Valley regional police director Police Chief Superintendent Gilbert Sosa said it is possible the chemical substance may have come from countries like China and Hongkong and was brought in through the coastal towns of Cagayan. – Rappler.com