NBI raids alleged shabu lab in GenSan

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/31 January) – Government agents seized Sunday night various chemicals and materials believed used in manufacturing metamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu in a raid on an alleged “kitchen-type” drug laboratory located within the city’s downtown area.
Dominic Cerro, special investigator of the National Bureau of Investigation’s (NBI) Sarangani district office, said they uncovered the alleged shabu laboratory following a search on a two-storey house located along Salazar Street in Barangay Dadiangas South here at past 7pm Sunday.
It was the second time a facility for the manufacture of the illegal substance was found in this city since last year.
Armed with a search warrant issued by Judge Oscar Noel of the Regional Trial Court’s Branch 35 here, Cerro said they found the mini-shabu laboratory in one of the rooms situated at the ground floor of the house owned by suspected drug supplier Melchor Yap.
During the raid, which was witnessed by several reporters, village officials and elements from the city police’s scene of the crime operations or Soco, he said they recovered several quantities of ammonia, acetone solution, baking powder, sodium bicarbonate and four other types of still unknown substances.
They also seized two rolls of aluminum foil, plastic sachets, a cooking stove, two broken glass tubes, a plastic hose, an exhaust tube, two plastic funnels, an aluminum laddle and four stainless cooking pots that reportedly contained some chemical residues.
“Based on the combination of the cooking implements and chemicals we found at the scene, it was clear that they were manufacturing shabu there,” he told reporters.
Cerro said they launched the raid after several weeks of surveillance on Yap’s activities and his house, which is located several meters away from the city’s commercial center, city hall complex, a local college, the city’s main Catholic cathedral and parish compound.
The NBI investigator admitted that it was quite difficult to monitor Yap’s shabu-making activities due to the location of his house, which also doubles as a boarding house for students from a nearby college.
He said Yap’s residents was flanked by several boarding houses, an internet café and a lodging house, making it difficult to immediately notice any of his supposed illegal activities.
But during their surveillance, Cerro said some of Yap’s neighbors reported about some foul odor that had emanated from the house.
“That confirmed that he was indeed cooking shabu so we immediately decided to launch the raid,” he said.
Cerro said Yap’s name initially came up as a shabu pusher but was later tagged as among the sources of shabu that was proliferating in the city.
He said they tracked Yap as the source of the shabu supplies that they recovered in a recent operation in the city.
“According to our informants, some of Yap’s clients initially complained because the shabu supplies that he delivered supposedly tasted different. But two months ago, he reportedly perfected the mix,” he said.
Cerro said Yap’s live-in partner, whom he only identified as a certain Love-love, admitted the shabu-making activities at the house but the latter reportedly claimed the substance was intended for their own consumption.
In an interview with reporters after the raid, Yap vehemently denied manufacturing any illegal substance in his house and challenged the NBI agents to prove their accusations against them.
“What they found in my house were simple cooking implements and some utensils and I don’t think that’s a crime,” said Yap, who refused to sign the inventory of the alleged evidences that were recovered from his house.
The suspect and his live-in partner are currently at the custody of the NBI pending their presentation to the court and the formal filing of charges against them.
Cerro said the couple will be charged for violation of Section 8 of Republic Act 9165 or the Dangerous Drugs Act, which specified provisions on the “manufacture of dangerous drugs and/or controlled precursors and essential chemicals.” (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)