AUTHORITIES seized on Thursday, May 23, 2019, about P1 billion worth of illegal drugs placed in aluminum pallets in a warehouse in Malabon City, Metro Manila.
A total of 146 kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) were packed in 114 bags and placed in aluminum pallets that were stored inside the Goldwin Commercial Warehouse.
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino said in a statement that the illegal substance came from Cambodia and must have been part of a shipment from the Golden Triangle drug syndicate.
He also said this latest haul is "connected" to the shipments seized in Dasmariñas and Tanza in Cavite last February.
Authorities confiscated 274 kilos of shabu worth P1.9 billion in Tanza on February 3 and 36 kilos of shabu worth P244 million in Dasmariñas on February 13.
Aquino said they had conducted a background check on the owners of Goldwin Commercial Warehouse and found no pieces of evidence linking them to the illegal drugs trade.
But Goldwin submitted the highest bid when the Bureau of Customs (BOC) auctioned off an abandoned shipment of tapioca starch on April 22.
Aquino said the PDEA and the Armed Forces of the Philippines got wind of the tapioca starch shipment when they conducted a forensic investigation on the mobile phone seized from the suspects arrested during the Dasmariñas operation.
The suspects were identified as Alexander Jun Wah Ting Lee and Patrick John Gankee.
Based on the information they gathered, Aquino said they learned that the tapioca starch shipment would conceal illegal drugs.
"During the forensic investigations, we learned that their group is expecting a shipment of illegal drugs concealed in tapioca starch consigned to Goroyam Trading," Aquino said.
The BOC found the tapioca starch shipment abandoned on March 5.
"PDEA and BOC conducted a search on the shipment wherein we learned that indeed it contains illegal drugs concealed in the aluminum pallets," Aquino said.
Hoping to arrest other members of the drug ring, Aquino said they agreed to auction off the tapioca starch shipment. Goldwin submitted the highest bid.
The Malabon operation against Goldwin was carried out by the PDEA, Bureau of Customs, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police and Philippine Coast Guard. (MVI/SunStar Philippines)