MARAWI CITY, Philippines – Authorities have recovered 11 packs of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride, commonly known as shabu, inside the conflict area on Sunday, June 18.
The shabu was recovered by troopers from the 49th Infantry Battalion as they were conducting clearing operations against the terrorist Maute Group, the military said Monday, June 19.
The seized shabu, weighing 11 kilograms in total, is estimated to have a street value of P110 million to P250 million.
Captain Eric Estrebillo, who lead the troops who recovered the shabu, said that after their encounter with the terrorists, they conducted a search inside one of the houses used as a hideout and recovered the drugs in a kitchen.
“We also recovered drug paraphernalia in the same house,” Estrebillo said.
Estrebillo said that the house was where the Maute fighters were holding their position. “We also recovered an ISIS flag,” Estrebillo said.
The troops also recovered high powered firearms such as M14, AK47, and ammunitions.
He added that the troops also describes the Maute group as “drug crazed” during the firefight.
Western Mindanao Command commander Lt General Carlito Galvez earlier said that what is happening in Marawi City is a “pintakasi” or a free for all – with the terrorists fighting alongside with private armed groups and narco-politicians.
The recovery is the "largest illegal drug haul so far" in the 28 days of fighting in Marawi City, said Galvez.
Brigadier General Ramiro Manuel Rey, commander of Task Force Ranao, said that they also received reports of drug-crazed terrorists fighting the government troops.
“Troops said they encountered drug-crazed individuals during fire fights with the troops, and they are using Mosque as their hideouts,” he said.
Rey added that the owner of the house will be investigated and is now suspected as a major drug supplier.
He also said that the illegal drugs recovered will be turned over to concerned authorities.
The fighting in Marawi City started last June 23, when terrorists from the Maute Group attacked the city. The crisis has prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law in all of Mindanao. – Rappler.com