Chinese caught with P2.5-B shabu, biggest haul in 2019

POLICE arrested Tuesday night, November 26, a Chinese high-value target and confiscated 371 kilos of illegal drugs valued at P2.522 billion, considered the biggest haul so far in 2019.

The suspect, Chinese national Liu Chao, was arrested at 11:45 p.m. in Barangay San Antonio, Makati City by the Philippine National Police Drug Enforcement Group (PNP-DEG) under Colonel Romeo Caramat Jr/

His suspected couriers, Joel Bustamante and Merwin Bustamante, were arrested Wednesday with around 17 kilos of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) packed in 17 green tea bags at a parking lot located at C5 extension in Las Piñas City.

PNP officer-in-charge Lieutenant General Archie Francisco Gamboa, in a television interview, said Liu is a "bodegero", or a person who receives the illegal drugs in bulk and distributes these to the drug pushers.

Gamboa said that from the way the drugs were packed, the illegal substance was imported. But the suspect being Chinese does not mean the drugs came from China, he added.

"As a matter of fact we have not really discovered any shabu laboratory in the Philippines. Based on our intelligence gathering, there are none as of yet that are existing so all of these are coming from the outside. But of course his being a Chinese citizen does not necessarily conclude that it is from China," Gamboa said.

Gamboa said Liu was placed under surveillance for two weeks before the DEG operatives staged the operation.

He said they still have to interview Liu and conduct an investigation to determine the extent of his operations and identify other people who may be included in his network.

All three suspects are in the custody of PNP-DEG while a complaint is being prepared for filing at the Office of the Prosecutor. (MVI/SunStar Philippines)