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Masbate labs can produce 50 kilos of shabu weekly

  • Written by Peoples Tonight
  • Published in Provincial
  • Read: 3825

EVIDENCE recorded inside four suspected secret drug facilities in Masbate City last Saturday have tested positive for chemicals and equipment being used to manufacture shabu, the commander of the Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force of the Philippine National Police said yesterday.
   
“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 PNP-AIDSOTF commander, Senior Superintendent Bartolome C. Tobias.
   
Tobias said initial laboratory results from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 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, the head of the Task Force Anti-Narcotics of the Department of Justice. The suspects were arrested in Sitio Cagba in Barangay Tugbo, Masbate City.
   
Villanueva scheduled the preliminary investigation of the case for violation of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulations Act of 2013 filed against the suspects.
   
Tobias said that 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 recommended against the suspects has been scheduled on March 2.
   
Combined agents of the PNP-AIDSOTF, the PDEA and the Police Regional Office 5 on Valentine’s day simultaneously raided the four suspected secret drug facilities in Masbate City and arrested a number of local government officials including the two former Masbate town mayors, Tobias reported to PNP Officer-in-Charge, Deputy Director General Leonardo A. Espina.
   
Arrested during the raids were Cherry Boy Abapo Jr.; his son Lester Seminiano Abapo, the chairman of Barangay F. Magallanes in San Fernando; daughter Lovely, a board member of the Masbate 2nd District; and Fernando Bravante, an employee of the Masbate’s 2nd district.
   
Also taken in for questioning were houseboy Anton Abella, Isagani Vasquez and Police Officer 1 Aaron Abapo of the Masbate Provincial Public Safety Company. Tobias said that PO1 Abapo was not present during the raid but has already been placed under the custody of the Police Regional Office 5’s Regional Intelligence Division.
   
Tobias said they recovered a substantial volume of controlled precursors and eEssential 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 information that a group of Chinese nationals have set foot in the province and have established secret drug facilities with the support of some local government officials.
   
The official said they conducted the raids on the strength of a search warrant for violation of RA 9165 issued against the suspects by Judge Fernando T. Sagun of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 78.