An abandoned house in an exclusive subdivision at Greenhills, San Juan that allegedly doubled as a “shabu” (crystal meth) laboratory was raided by authorities in a follow-up operation to the arrest of a Korean chemist last week.
Based on a warrant issued by Judge Danilo Cruz of Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 152, a joint police team searched the house at 5 Arthur St. in North Greenhills Subdivision at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday.
According to the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), the clandestine laboratory could produce 30 kg of shabu (crystal meth), worth around P204 million, in one go.
Recovered from the house were suspected shabu chemicals, an undetermined quantity of controlled precursors and assorted equipment for the manufacturing of drugs. The police refused to disclose the name of the homeowner to avoid compromising follow-up operations.
NCRPO chief, Director Guillermo Eleazar, said the house which had been vacated a month ago was being rented by a big-time drug syndicate although he declined to name the group.
“We have seized also documents that will be our basis to trace or backtrack the members of the group and syndicate who were here,” Eleazar told reporters.
HOUSE WITH A SMELLY SECRET The police say the big-time drug syndicate operating the laboratory abandoned the house a month ago. Neighbors earlier complained of the smell coming from the house, prompting authorities to place it under surveillance. —NIÑO JESUS ORBETA
He confirmed that the group was connected to Kim Jeong-hee, a Korean national and chemist who was arrested in a buy-bust operation on November 29.
The police found in his condominium unit in San Juan City P13.5 million worth of suspected shabu and P450,000 in cash.
Eleazar added that the apparent magnitude of shabu that the laboratory was capable of producing and its ties to the foreign chemist suggested the group was engaged in a large-scale, potentially nationwide, drug operation.
According to him, the choice of maintaining the laboratory inside a gated subdivision was likely a strategic one as it made it more difficult for police to monitor the suspects and the house.
“This isn’t the first time. Posh, high-end subdivisions have been used often to hide shabu laboratories,” Eleazar said.
“They used exhaust fans to try to mask the smell but just the same, we received information from the neighborhood about the smell, which was actually one of the basis for surveillance,” he added.
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