The seized P40 million worth of shabu which has been deemed as the largest drug haul in Bohol in recent years may have been sourced from the Chinese triad based on the wrappers of the kilos of illegal drugs, the region’s top cop said.
According to Police Regional Office 7 director Brig. Gen Ignatius Ferro, the seized blocks of shabu were sealed in tea packaging with Chinese characters written on it which is a “signature” material used in wrapping shabu that are smuggled into the country by the triad.
“Based on the wrapping we could deduce that those are coming from the triad,” Ferro said.
It was unclear however if the persons arrested and caught in possession of the multi-million peso drug stockpile had direct contact with the triad or they had buffers or middlemen between them and the powerful crime syndicate.
The triad is a transnational criminal organization which is based in China, Taiwan, Singapore and other countries that have “substantial ethnic Chinese populations.”
According to Ferro, the same types of packaging material have been seen in some of the country’s largest drug hauls, particularly the ones found in magnetic lifters.
“They use a tea pack to conceal the real content, and we have seen that in several occasions especially in the magnetic lifter seizure of the Bureau of Customs,” he said.
Ferro believes that players in the Bohol drug trade do not have the capacity to manufacture large amounts of shabu through a clandestine laboratory.
He however said that further investigations will still be conducted to determine the illegal drugs’ source or how these reached Bohol.
The multi-million drug haul, which weighed over six kilos, was seized in two operations in Tagbilaran City and Talibon on Monday by the Bohol Provincial Police Office (BPPO).
Four kilos or about P27 million worth of shabu were seized from Jaime Dajao at a drug bodega in Talibon while the remaining two kilos worth approximately P13 million were confiscated from his wife Lelit and three others in Tagbilaran City.
Lelit and her alleged cohorts in the drug trade were collared in a drug buy-bust operation at 5 p.m. Just an hour after her apprehension, police set up a drug sting against Jaime in which the suspect allegedly sold shabu worth P2.9 million to a posuer-buyer leading to his arrest.
For his part, newly installed BPPO director Joselito Clarito congratulated his men including the Provincial Intelligence Branch and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) for the seizure of the multi-million peso contraband which he said is the largest drug haul in Bohol’s history.
According to Clarito, various police units and the PDEA conducted month-long surveillance operations before they pounced on the illegal drug group, and they are expecting more arrests to be made in follow-up operations.
“Mahabang operation ito, so kailangan natin ituloy-tuloy ang ating surveillance operation para makuha natin ang ibang target persons natin,” he said.
Not the first time
Clarito also supported Ferro’s claim as he noted that the use of tea packs with Chinese characters written on them to conceal the shabu indicated that that the illegal drugs were sourced from the triad.
It was not the first time however that shabu wrapped in Chinese tea packaging was found in Bohol.
In July 2019, police also recovered a similar packaging which contained P6.8 million worth of shabu in a drug bodega in Tubigon.
The operation led to the killing of suspected big-time drug personality Richie Banquil and the arrest of his sister Christina Banquil and three others identified as Romel Ullyamot, Junrey Taghap and Jayson Asuel.
Police were also able to seize 169 tablets of suspected ecstasy and two unlicensed pistols. (with R. Tutas)