500 kilograms of ‘shabu’ seized in Manila port

Rambo Talabong

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500 kilograms of ‘shabu’ seized in Manila port

Ben Nabong

(UPDATED) The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency pegs its value at P4.3 billion if the recovered shipment is proven to be methamphetamine

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Around 500 kilograms of suspected methamphetamine or “shabu” has been recovered by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Tuesday, August 7, at the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT).

How it was found: Authorities intercepted the suspected shabu packed inside magnetic scrap lifters in an unclaimed container, PDEA said in a news release.

It was found thanks to an informant warning in the PDEA National Capital Region (NCR) in July that illegal drugs would be smuggled into the Philippines through a shipment from Malaysia.

“Continuous intensive efforts led to the tracking of the shabu shipment carried by vessel AS Cecilia intended to be unloaded at MICP,” the PDEA said.

If it tests positive as shabu, it would be valued at P4.3 billion.

Who was the shipment for? PDEA chief Director General Aaron Aquino said the shipment was consigned to a certain Vecaba Trading under the name of Vedasto Cabral Baraquel of Barangay Lalud in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro.

Baraquel is already subject to an ongoing investigation, Aquino said, and he had ordered the PDEA International Cooperation and Foreign Affairs Service to coordinate with counterpart agencies from Malaysia and China.

Philippines just a transhipment point: According to PDEA, Malaysia is only the most recent destination of the shipment before the Philippines. The anti-drug agency has yet to discover where the suspected illegal drugs originally came from.

It added that the Philippines is only a transhipment point – narcotics smuggled in are further illegally snuck into other countries.

Throwback: The last time the government notably bagged a seizure hitting the billion-peso mark was in May 2017, when law enforcers found P6.4 billion worth of shabu in a Valenzuela City warehouse.

Just like the recent catch, the shabu was shipped through the MICT. – Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.