Philippines authorities have made the biggest drug seizure in the country’s history, confiscating 2,000 pounds of methamphetamine worth U.S. $120 million in a series of raids this month.
These red packs may look ordinary, but apparently this is a trademark of a drug syndicate called “red dragon.”
Each pack contains a kilogram of high grade methamphetamine chloride, or shabu, according to the National Bureau of Investigation. Authorities seized 890 kilograms of these high grade shabu in a series of operations in Pasay, Cavite and the biggest in San Juan City, where the group operates its laboratory.
The NBI also arrested 10 individuals, including three Chinese nationals.
Atty. Ross Galicia, Deputy Commander, NBI-Task Force Against Illegal Drugs: “These people are cooking drugs and they dismantle it, put in the different warehouses, but there are signs they are doing it elsewhere, too,” said Attorney Ross Galicia, Deputy Commander of the NBI Task Force Against Illegal Drugs.
“Despite the intensified campaign against drugs, they still manage to operate. They are just in San Juan City. Their safehouses and warehouse are located near each other,” said Roel Bolivar, the task force’s assistant regional director.
The street value of the entire haul is about 6 billion pesos. “It is not only the biggest hold this year, but so far the biggest in history,” said DOJ secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.
One kilogram of shabu now costs 10 million pesos.
Bolivar says the price of shabu has increased by 4 million over the past 6 months because of the government’s war on drugs. “That could happen because of the intensified campaign against drugs. We saw the results here, though in the provinces, the efforts may be not as strong. Drug operators are possibly looking for other markets.”
Aside from crystalline and powdered substances, the NBI also discovered over a thousand liters of liquid shabu, which can be converted to 500 kilograms of the crystalized form.
They also found 40 grams of epidrin, another important component in producing illegal drugs, and 40 kilos of caffeine.
“Caffeine is just an adulterant and it makes you feel high,” said NBI chemist Dr. Felicisima Francisco.