By Arwen Pascua
MANILA — Government intelligence and anti-narcotics operatives seized some P3.4 billion worth of shabu in successful interoperability of at least five (5) government agencies led by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) against a big-time illegal drugs syndicate on Tuesday, September 7, in Candelaria, Zambales.
Philippine National Police Chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar said the operation also resulted in the death of four (4) Chinese drug traffickers who engaged government operatives in a gun battle in a failed attempt to escape.
He identified them as Gao Manzhu, 49; Hong Jianshe, 58; Eddie Tan, 60; all from Fujian, China; and, Xu Youha,50, from Quezon City.
Seized from them were 500 kilograms of shabu with an estimated standard price of P3,400,000,000.
“They are known distributors of illegal drugs in Luzon, particularly in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Region 4,” said Eleazar.
The operation was a result of the cooperation and information-sharing of the PNP, the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP), the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) led by Director General Alex Paul Monteagudo, the Bureau of Customs led by Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, and with the PDEA led by Director General Wilkins Villanueva, as the lead agency.
The confiscated shabu was the biggest drug haul for this year so far.
Last year, more than 800 kilos of shabu were also seized in Bulacan and DG Villanueva said the Zambales operation was part of the continuous follow-up operation against those involved in Bulacan.
DG Villanueva, who was present at the operation site along with the Chief PNP, said the operation stemmed from long surveillance after they were able to track down the movement of Xu Youha.
Xu, alias Taba, was tagged as one of the key players of illegal drugs activities in the country and according to PDEA Deputy Director-General for Operations Gregorio Pimentel, he was last monitored talking to contacts abroad.
On Tuesday, government anti-narcotics operatives were able to negotiate for the purchase of a kilo of shabu from the group of Xu which resulted in the operation that eventually led to his death and of his three other companions.
During the clearing operation, PGen Eleazar said more or less 500 kilos of shabu were confiscated. The confiscated illegal drugs are believed to be for distribution in various parts of Luzon.
DG Villanueva said the illegal drugs were smuggled into the country through the international waters that were later picked up by smaller vessels. They were then transported near the coastal waters to be picked by the local illegal drugs distributor.
“Meron pa tayong pursuit na ginagawa from this operation. Hindi dito nagtatapos ang aming maigting na kampanya laban sa iligal na droga dahil meron pa tayong hinahabol na mga sindikato,” said DG Villanueva.
For his part, PGen Eleazar said that he had already deployed helicopters and speedboats of the PNP to assist in the conduct of pursuit operation against the vessel which transported the confiscated illegal drugs to the coastal waters of Zambales.
The helicopters of the PNP Air Unit and the fast crafts by the Maritime Group scoured the seawaters off Central Luzon and nearby areas as part of the pursuit operations.
“This operation was a result of the whole-of-government approach in our campaign against illegal drugs. Our coordination and cooperation with other government agencies, particularly with the PDEA, is now stronger than before so we are confident that this will be our strong point in our successful campaign to put an end to the threats of illegal drugs in the country,” said Eleazar.