PDEA agents inspect shabu equipment during a raid on a warehouse in Malabon yesterday.
Michael Varcas
PDEA raids Malabon shabu lab; Chinese held
Rey Galupo (The Philippine Star) - April 14, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) raided a shabu laboratory in Malabon City and arrested a Chinese and his Filipino driver yesterday morning.

The raid came a day after PDEA agents busted a drug laboratory in Batangas where eight persons, including four Chinese, were apprehended.

PDEA chief Aaron Aquino said the raids stemmed from a seven-month intelligence gathering and search warrants issued by the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 53.

Armed with high-powered firearms, PDEA operatives, backed up by members of the Northern Police District drug enforcement unit, intelligence division and the Malabon police, swooped down on a four-story warehouse along De la Cruz Street in Barangay Tinajeros at around 8 a.m.

Lauro Santiago and Jiang Minshan are in handcuffs after their arrest. The STAR/Michael Varcas

Jiang Minshan, 53, of Fujian, China, and his driver Lauro Santiago, 59, were nabbed during the raid.

The raiders confiscated chemicals such as safrole and various equipment used in the production of illegal drugs, according to Aquino.

Safrole is a yellowish liquid usually used as food additive. It was banned after it was discovered that it is used in manufacturing the party drug Ecstasy.

Arnold Carreon, PDEA public information chief and director for laboratory service, said they have yet to conduct an inventory of the amount of drugs and shabu precursors seized during the raid.

Aquino said Jiang and the other Chinese arrested in Batangas were members of the Dragon Wu drug ring operating in the Golden Triangle at the borders of Laos, Myanmar and Thailand.

“Aside from the Chinese, African and Mexican drug rings, we now have gangs from the Golden Triangle to contend with,” Aquino said.

He said the Malabon warehouse could have been used by the group as “a testing site to experiment on new kinds of party drugs such as liquid Ecstasy.”

The discovery of the shabu facilities in Batangas and Malabon was the result of  intelligence provided to the PDEA by China’s Office of the National Narcotics Control Commission and Narcotics Control Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security.

Chinese authorities tipped off the PDEA that Chinese chemists were flying in and out of the Philippines.

Shen Yue, China’s Ministry of Public Safety director for operation, said they coordinated with the PDEA after receiving information about the drug ring’s operation.

Shen said the drug laboratories were established by a Hong-Kong based drug kingpin.

The PDEA chief said the drugs could have entered the country through the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

“We will look deeper if there are people in the BOC who are involved in the transit of the illegal drugs,” Aquino said.

Foul odor

Manny Maigting, who lives just a few meters from the warehouse, said they noticed a tinted delivery van that would usually arrive at night and leave after 30 minutes.

“We smelled a plastic-like burning odor, but we didn’t know where it was coming from,” he said.

Aquino said personnel of the warehouse repacked the drugs in sachets with the logo of a cereal brand before delivering these in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

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