'Shabu lab' found in Batangas; 4 Chinese, 4 Filipinos nabbed

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 12) — Authorities arrested a group of Chinese and Filipino nationals suspected of running a shabu laboratory in Batangas Thursday.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said its agents, along with some members of the military and police, discovered the "clandestine shabu laboratory" in a farm in Barangay Sto. Niño in Ibaan town at 6 a.m.

Chemicals used in the manufacture of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu and ecstasy were seized from the operation, PDEA said, but it did not mention the amount.

"The shabu laboratory has the capacity to produce 25 kilos or P125 million worth of shabu in one day," PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said in a statement.

Two Chinese chemists identified as Tian Baoquan and Guo Zixing and three Filipino cohorts were nabbed during the shabu laboratory search, PDEA said. The Filipinos were Eduardo Lorenzo, 59, an electrician; Rosaleo Cesar (alias Leo), 49, driver; and Amancio Gallarde, 40, errand boy.

In another operation in Lipa town, authorities arrested Hong Dy and his driver Nestor Baguio.

Xie Jiansheng, whom PDEA described as "the Chinese organizer and handler of the arrested chemists," was nabbed later in Tagaytay City. Five hundred grams of suspected shabu worth P2.5 million were seized from him.

The Chinese chemists are accused of putting up the shabu facility with the help of Filipino cohorts.

PDEA noted that China's Office of the National Narcotics Control Commission tipped the government off about "Chinese chemists flying in and out of the country from September to October 2017."

Intelligence reports showed a Hong Kong-based drug kingpin was behind the shabu laboratory, PDEA said.

The raid is an offshoot of President Rodrigo Duterte's state visit to China in October 2016, PDEA said, where representatives of the two countries signed a protocol on cooperation and intelligence sharing and joint anti-drug operations.

Duterte was back in China this week, where he said China and the Philippines "stand together in the war on criminality and illegal drug trade."