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PDEA, PNP ask public’s help in detecting clan labs

  • Written by Alfred Dalizon
  • Published in Nation
  • Read: 3370

THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Philippine National Police Anti-lllegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force yesterday asked the public anew to help them detect clandestine shabu laboratories and storage facilities in the country by providing information thru the PDEA Operation: Private Eye.
In particular, PDEA chair, Undersecretary Arturo G. Cacdac Jr. and PNP-AIDSOTF commander, Senior Superintendent Bartolome C. Tobias, called on the citizenry to watch for a total of 18 tell-tale signs and immediately report it to the PDEA’s 24/7 SMS/Text Center: For SMART subscribers, 09998887332; Globe, 09279150616; and Sun Cellular, 09255737332. Under the PDEA Operation: Private Eye, the identities of the tipsters will be kept in utmost secrecy to protect them from expected reprisals from drug syndicates. 
The two officials issued the  appeal in the wake of the discovery last Valentine’s Day of secret shabu facilities in Masbate City. Tobias said  evidence recovered inside the four suspected clandestine drug factories have tested positive for chemicals and equipment being used to manufacture shabu.
“It appears further that the equipment found inside the clan lab could be used to mass produce at least 50 kilograms of shabu worth P250 million a week,” said Tobias, a lawyer from Philippine Military Academy Class 1985.
Tobias said initial laboratory results from the PDEA showed that the white powdery substance found inside the secret drug facility being maintained by Cherry Abapo were positive for Ephedrine, the main ingredient in the manufacture of the so-called ‘poor man’s cocaine.’ The laboratory equipment recovered inside the same drug facility also showed traces of methamphetamine and thionyl chloride, an indication that they were recently used in the manufacture of shabu, he added.
However, despite the PDEA laboratory findings, all respondents in the Masbate drug raids led by ex-Mayor Lester Abapo and board member Lovely Abapo were ordered released for further investigation when they were submitted for inquest before State Prosecutor Theodore Villanueva,  head of DOJ’s Task Force Anti-Narcotics.
Tobias said  another suspect named Cherry Abapo Jr., a former San Fernando mayor  who was arrested inside the suspected shabu clan lab at Secret Garden Resort in Bgy. Nursery, Masbate City availed of preliminary investigation on the charge of violation of Section 8 (manufacture of dangerous drugs) of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. The preliminary investigation of the RA 9165 case against the suspects is scheduled on March 2.
In a report to PNP Officer-in-Charge, Deputy Director General Leonardo A. Espina, Tobias said they recovered a substantial volume of Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals, laboratory equipment used in the manufacture of dangerous drugs, a caliber 40 pistol and a cal. .22 Magnum revolver with 10 live ammunition during the operation triggered by an information that a group of Chinese nationals have established secret drug facilities in Masbate with the support of local government officials.
In the aftermath of the Masbate City raids, the PDEA and the PNP-AIDSOTF called on the public “to watch out for these 18 tell-tale signs showing the existence of a hidden illegal drug facility in our neighborhood. You might be living near or next to one but unaware of it,” Cacdac said.
The signs are: a. Presence of large water tanks; b. Thick electrical wires for houses or facilities which should have normal-sized wires; c. Laboratory materials surrounding the properties like empty chemicals bottles, drums and other types of chemical containers; d. Specially-constructed chimney or ventilation fan to get rid of strong odors; e. Strong chemical odors coming from the facility, including the smell of solvents like nail polish remover; f. Persons in the premises seldom come out but they do come out to smoke, to avoid igniting highly explosive chemicals inside; g. Dead or dying trees, plants and grass in the immediate vicinity; h. Excessive or irregular water waste coming out of the premises; i. Presence of waste chemicals; j. Discarded materials used to store chemicals; k. Residents never discard their trash, they burn them; l. Use of security cameras; m. Odd locks and bars on windows; n. Presence of watch dogs, high fences and barb wires; o. Every opening of the facility is covered; p. Persons
going about their business at odd hours; q. No traffic during daytime, but traffic at wee hours; and r. Visitors with expensive cars.
Many drug tipsters have become instant millionaires after helping the PDEA and the PNP-AIDSOTF smash secret shabu laboratories and capture big-time drug traffickers in the country.