Legazpi City (14 September) -- Laboratory experts of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Bikol said that only 3.98 kilograms of methamphetamine hydrochloride or "shabu" were seized on Wednesday by anti-drug operatives in Masbate and not 5.28 kilograms as earlier reported.
In a joint PNP-PDEA press conference on Thursday, Pedrito Magsino, PDEA regional director, corrected the report concerning the right weight measurement of the seized illegal drugs, noting that when the shabu materials were weighed excluding the plastic packages at the agency electronic weighing scale, it yielded only 3.98 kilograms.
Magsino allayed reports and speculations that the miscalculation of the correct weight of the illegal drugs might be the handiwork of unscrupulous anti-drug operatives.
He said "our operative used the standard weighing scale to determine the correct quantity of the illegal drugs including its packaging."
Asked of the street value of the shabu, Magsino replied that with the present street value of shabu in Bikol ranging from P10 million to P15 million per kilogram, the value of the confiscated illegal drugs was estimated at P48 million.
The PNP and PDEA were one in saying that the 3.98 kilograms of shabu was the biggest seizure made by anti-drug operative so far in the past two years in Bikol.
Chief Supt. Cecilio Calleja, Bicol police director said police intelligence operatives based in Manila said that the two arrested female drug courier were members of a drug group operating in Manila under a drug lord who is presently languishing in jail for illegal drug trafficking.
When pressed to name the jailed drug lord, Calleja refused to name names because according to him it may jeopardize an on-going investigation.
At the press conference held at Camp Simeon Ola the PNP and the PDEA confirmed that Bikol region specifically the provinces of Sorsogon and Masbate are being used by drug syndicates as transshipment points for illegal drugs to and from Manila and the Visayas regions.
Earlier, a joint anti-drug police and military operatives collared on Wednesday two female drug traders and seized from them five kilograms of methamphetamine hydrochloride popularly known as "shabu" at the port of Masbate City.
Arrested were Faith Gadiane y Enolba, 25 and Hope Sasan y Floreta both natives of Cebu City; the suspects were in possession of a large quantity of shabu stored in boxes hidden in the suspects' personal belongings.
Anti-drug operatives nabbed the suspects while they were about to embark a roro sea vessel at about 9:00 a.m. Wednesday at the Masbate port; the sea vessel was bound for Cebu.
Initial investigation indicates that the suspects came from Manila and they were bound for Cebu via the nautical highway from Pilar, Sorsogon to Masbate.
Magsino said they have a strong case against the suspects as the arrests were witnessed by members of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Department of Justice (DOJ), a village chief and the media.
He said the arrest of the two female drug peddlers came after their intelligence operatives informed them about a drug shipment to Cebu to be hand -arried by two suspects.
The suspects are now in the custody of the Philippine National Police (PNP) provincial office, charges of violation of the Comprehensive Anti-drug Act have been filed in a local court here against the two suspects. (PNA Bicol /PIA/mal)