Police seize additional shabu worth P400M in Las Piñas

Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo

ANTI-NARCOTICS operatives recovered on Saturday, November 30, another stash of illegal drugs contained in packs labeled as Chinese tea.

A total of 67 kilograms of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) valued at P455.6 million were found in a house in Las Piñas City, Metro Manila, whose owner reported the presence of the illegal drugs to authorities.

PNP spokesperson Brigadier General Bernard Banac said the house was leased out to Melanie Salem, the alleged live-in partner of Joel Bustamante, one of three high-value targets arrested by the police last week.

Joel Bustamante was arrested along with his brother Merwin on November 27, a day after Chinese national Liu Chao was collared by the police.

The Bustamantes were allegedly couriers of Liu. A total of 388 kilograms of shabu with an estimated value of P2.6 billion - 371 kilos from Liu and 17 kilos from Bustamante - were seized.

It was considered the biggest illegal drug haul for 2019.

Banac said the owner of the house in Golden Acres Subdivision in Talon 5, Las Piñas had called Lieutenant General Camilo Cascolan, PNP deputy chief for operations.

Cascolan led the search at around 5 a.m. Saturday. The tenant, Melanie Salem, had allegedly left the stash behind.

The packaging of the illegal drugs confiscated from Liu’s room and the illegal drugs found in the house rented by Salem is similar, Banac said.

Police said earlier that Liu was believed to be the “bodegero” of a big-time drug syndicate operating in the country and that the illegal drugs found in his possession had been imported.

A “bodegero” in drug war parlance is a person who receives the illegal drugs and distributes these through various pushers.

“The PNP lauds the continuing support of the public to our campaign against illegal drugs by staying alert and vigilant against persons suspected to be drug traffickers and for providing crucial information leading to places suspected to be drug storage areas,” said Banac.

“Every kilo of shabu confiscated and taken out of the streets represents a giant leap towards victory against drug supply. We assure the public that our campaign against high value targets remains relentless even as we maintain a strong security coverage for SEA Games 2019,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)