THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) seized Wednesday more than 30 drums of toluene, a main chemical in producing “shabu”, in Manila International Container Port (MICP).

Customs Commissioner Lito Alvarez said the shipment was declared as handbags but thorough search yielded 32 drums of the chemicals concealed at the back of the container van.

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The authorities said the chemical seized can produce two tons of shabu with an estimated street value of P1.5 billion.

Alvarez expressed gratitude to the apprehending departments of the bureau, the Enforcement and Security Service (ESS) Director Jose Yuchongco and lawyer Lourdes Mangaoang, head of the X-ray Inspection Project (XIP).

He also commended the XIP personnel for discovering the illegal substance since it is considered as the biggest haul in the history of the bureau.

Mangaoang said that for importers to be able to import such chemical they need to secure permit from the Philippine Drug Agency (PDEA) since it is listed in the Dangerous Drug Board Regulation No. 3, series of 2003 as a controlled chemical.

The shipment arrived in the country on August 10 from Shekou, China and was consigned to Trispher Trading.

At present, the Customs authorities are now looking for the owners of the trading firm, who have not come to claim the confiscated chemicals. (FP/Sunnex)