CONFUSIONS among authorities investigating on the suspected shabu shipped via MV Trai Thien 66 from Vietnam mounted.

This, after results of the lab test of the samples sent to the Crime Laboratory of Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office did not match with the National Crime Lab in Manila.

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Results of the Negros Occidental Police Prvincial Office (Noppo) crime lab showed that the substance seized at Bredco port 3 that ferried 77,000 bags of NFA rice, contained Methylephedrine (in 51 sacks of white crystalline substances) that belongs to dangerous drugs.

The National Crime Lab it said N-methylephedrine which according to Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Western Visayas lawyer Ronnie Delicana their national laboratory, to where they sent the samples for analysis, found it to be ammonium sulfate and not N-methlyephedrine.

Delicana said they leave the case to the Bureau of Customs (BOC) as the case no longer pertains to their jurisdiction as N-Methylephedrine do not belong to the list of dangerous drugs under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Act.

He said the case of misdeclaration would be handled by the BOC.

He, however, said BOC hold departure order issued to the Vietnamese vessel skippered by Bul Van Chin and which arrived last Friday evening has not yet been lifted because of the misdeclaration of cargo, which is a violation on Tariff and Customs Code.

PDEA likewise, to make sure that no illegal drug substance is included in the cargo, recommend for the confiscation of all sacks not containing the NFA rice for checking and for further laboratory testing.

The Vietnamese vessel is supposedly to deliver 77,000 sacks of NFA imported rice shipped by Vietnam Southern Food Corporation with address in Chu Manh Trinh, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Delicana further said his proposal to confiscate the sacks containing not the NFA rice has been agreed upon by the food authority officials because the ammonium sulfate were also placed inside NFA sacks which put the reputation of the NFA at stake.

He said the NFA has also already given instructions to withhold those sacks of rice already delivered at the four warehouses in Bacolod City pending their investigation.

'Underground drugs'

Noppo Police Senior Superintendent Manuel Felix ordered all police stations to exhaust efforts in tracing for clandestine shabu laboratories in the province.

National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) chief Mamerto Cortez said ephedrine is one of the components of dangerous drugs.

"If that is the case that the substance entered into the city and the province though the port, there is a possibility of the presence of clandestine shabu or drug laboratory.

He theorized that the province might the transit point of the illegal substances.

"Clandestine Drug or Shabu Laboratories, even in a very small room, based in raids we conducted in other areas, could be operated. Even inside the vessel, the manufacturing could be done," said Cortez.

Reports have it that drug syndicates are now using special chemicals to eliminate the fumes of the illegal drugs when manufacturing.

"That made them easier to hide their illegal drug business," said Cortez.

Felix on the other hand said when he assumed office last year, he received reports about the production of illegal drugs in the province.

But it has not been confirmed up to this point, he said, adding that "after assessing the situation, I got that information already that more or less there is something flaunting out in the report, but still unverified report on the existence of the laboratory in the central part of the province. But that has been the subject of validation and until now it's not yet validated."

Meantime, Cortez said the NBI has a Memorandum of Agreement with PDEA that they can assist them during their operations.

Narco-politics

City officials led by Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia opined that the recent drugs controversy "is very alarming for the city and the province of Negros."

He said the Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) head Col. Celestino Guara has assured to secure the warehouse's vicinity that PDEA endorsed for security.

"If there would be narco-politics in the city, it would be very for the people," said Leonardia.

Congressional candidate and former undersecretary Anthony Golez said narco-politics is behind every elections or every activity that it destroys the peace covenant in the city.

"To have peace here is to protect the relationships of people based from justice, equality and on their rights" he said.

Councilor Al Victor Espino, chair of the City Council committee on police, said he will recommend for an investigation of the incident.

Drug syndicate

The Philippine National Police (PNP) is now closely monitoring the possible entry of three members of an international drug syndicate in the province and Bacolod City on suspicions that they are maintaining a clandestine drug laboratory.

Police Senior Superintendent Celestino Guara said they work closely with the Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (AIDSOTF) at Camp Crame with regard the issue.

This after it was traced up based on a manifesto of airline companies that three noted personalities in the international drug business, a Chinese and two Taiwanese nationals, often visited the province since last year.

The foreign nationals are on their early 40's, Guara said.

Guara further divulged that in fact, a high ranking official of AIDSOTF from Camp Crame is due to arrive here to further investigate the matter.

Last three months ago, agents of AIDSOTF who are tailing the said foreign nationals were here. (GMD/TL/MP)