Anti-narcotics team raid clandestine shabu laboratory in Virac, Catanduanes

LEGAZPI CITY — Anti-narcotics lawmen seized a big volume of chemicals and various equipment in making shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) in a raid on a warehouse believed to be a clandestine shabu laboratory in Virac, Catanduanes Saturday evening, a report that reached Camp Simeon Ola, headquarters of the Police Regional Office in Bicol (PRO5), said Sunday.

Senior Insp. Ma. Luisa Calubaquib, spokesperson of PRO5, said during the search operation conducted at the warehouse in Barangay Palta Small, Virac at 6 p.m., the raiding team found a hydrogenator, motorized mixing apparatus, various glasswares, weighing scales and numerous chemicals believed to be ingredients in producing shabu.

She said the combined team arrested the caretaker of the warehouse, identified as Laurence Perenia, while the Scene of Crime Operatives are still conducting an inventory of the seized chemicals and equipment.

Calubaquib said the joint team, which conducted the raid, was composed of the Regional Anti-Illegal Drug Special Operation Task Group, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-5, 83rd Infantry Battalion, Military Intelligence Group-5, Catanduanes Provincial Police Office, Regional Public Safety Battalion, Provincial Intelligence Branch, Virac Municipal Police Office and Regional Intelligence Unit 5 led by Supt. Alex Pederio.

They served the search warrant issued by Regional Trial Court Judge Lelu Contreras.

Initial investigation showed the warehouse is owned by Angelica Balmadrid, said to be the common-law wife of a certain Atty. Erick Isidoro of the National Bureau of Investigation in Palta Small.

Probers added the warehouse was leased to a Jayson Gonzales Uy

Calubaquib said residents in the area had tipped off to police officers the presence of the shabu lab.

Chief Supt. Melvin Ramon Buenafe, PRO5 director, after learning of the operation, immediately went to the suspected shabu lab and led an inspection with Virac Mayor Samuel Laynes.

Buenafe said the successful operation of the joint operatives was part of the government’s intensified anti-illegal drug campaign called “Oplan Double Barrel Alpha” that aims to eradicate the illegal drug problem.

“We are appealing to the public to continue helping us end the proliferation of illegal drugs by providing us vital information against the suspects behind these illegal activities,” he said.

Buenafe said investigation is ongoing on how the shabu lab began its operation and who are the real owners of the illegal facility.

Calubaquib said PNP Chief Ronald Dela Rosa, upon learning of the operation, congratulated the anti-narcotics team and plans to go to Virac to personally see the shabu laboratory and hold a press conference at the area. Jorge Hallare/PNA-northboundasia.com