PHP120-M worth of shabu seized in Tondo drug bust

MANILA — Operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation-National Capital Region (NBI-NCR) seized an estimated of PHP120 million worth of methamphetamine hydrocloride also known as ‘shabu’ and several firearms from two suspected members of drug syndicate operating in the country during an anti-drug operation in Tondo, Manila.

NBI-NCR Atty. Cesar A. Bacani on Monday said the suspects identified as Edris Bolug Macalabo and Arvin Belleza Zapanta were arrested by the NBI in an anti-drug operation along R-10 near the Manila North Harbor last April 1.

He said the group of Macalabo and Zapanta operates in Manila and nearby provinces like Cavite.

Last March 29, the NBI-NCR received an intelligence information that a drug syndicate headed by a certain alias Kim a.k.a. Boy Muslim will be transporting several kilograms of shabu together with several firearms from Manila to Mindanao.

The operation was conducted in collaboration with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

Confiscated from the two suspects is a travel bag loaded with 24 plastic bags, each containing crystalline substances with a total net weight of 19.831 kilograms with an estimate value of PHP120-million.

Also found inside the suspects’ Toyota Corolla with plate number WDJ-567 were 10 pieces .45 caliber pistols, 10 pieces .38 caliber revolvers, 5 pieces 9 mm submachine guns, 10 pieces 9-mm magazine clips, 19 pieces .45 caliber magazines, four suppressors for 9-mm, and 30 pieces 9 mm live ammunitions.

The suspects failed to provide documents and permits on the said items.

The registered owner of said vehicle is being verified with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) for workable leads against other members of the syndicate.

Bacani said the confiscated drugs and firearms were supposed to be transported to Mindanao.

The two suspects has already inquest before the Department of Justice for violation of Section 5 and 11 in relation to Section 26 of R.A. 9165 (comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2012) and violation of Section 28 of R.A. 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act).

NBI Spokesperson Ferdinand Lavin said the bureau is now conducting further investigation to identify the connections of the suspect’s group to syndicates and terror groups in southern Philippines. Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/