MANILA (UPDATE) – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) discovered drug laboratories in several condominiums in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) and Makati City in simultaneous raids Wednesday.
Atty. Ruel Lasala, NBI deputy director for investigative services and head of the bureau's anti-illegal drugs task force, said 2 Filipinos who are Canadian citizens were arrested in The Luxe Residences located at the corner of 28th Street and 4th Avenue of BGC.
The NBI discovered about P100 million worth of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride), cocaine, and "ecstasy" inside Unit 301 of The Luxe Residences which was being rented by a certain Barris Padilla and Christian Olazo.
NBI personnel discovered blank capsules and equipment used in manufacturing and repacking of illegal drugs.
The NBI said the equipment and the illegal drugs were from Mexico.
The NBI said separate operations, sanctioned by a search warrant issued by the Makati Regional Trial Court, were also conducted in two condominium units in Serendra and another two in Makati.
The amount of drugs discovered in The Luxe Residences was the biggest among the five areas raided by the NBI where a Canadian-Iranian and a Filipino were arrested.
The Luxe Residences is described on its website as "a modern luxury high-rise apartment tower" whose residents "include foreign dignitaries and top executives of multinational firms."
Monthly rent starts from P72,000 for a 1-bedroom unit to P211,000 for a 3-bedroom unit.
NBI supervising agent Augusto Eric Isidoro said the suspects are connected with the group "Independent Soldiers," allegedly composed of Canadian, Mexican and Iranian nationals and is believed to be operating in Greece, United States, Australia and parts of Asia.
The use of high-end residential areas by illegal drug manufacturers is not new in the Philippines. In January 2012, a shabu laboratory was discovered in Ayala Alabang Village in Muntinlupa City, leading to the arrest of five Chinese nationals.
Investigators said they will look into the connection between the arrested suspects and the operators of the Mexican drug cartel-run shabu storage facility found in Lipa City, Batangas in December last year.
On December 25, 2013, joint elements of the Philippine National Police - Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force , and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency seized P420 million worth of shabu during a raid at the LPL Ranch in Barangay Inosloban, Lipa.
The drugs, a total of 84 kilos of shabu in vacuum-sealed latex packs, were placed in four pieces of luggage.
Three suspected big-time drug traffickers, identified as Gary Tan, Argay Argenos and Rochelle Argenos, were arrested during the operation. – reports from Zandro Ochona and Dennis Datu, dzMM; and Francis Faulve, ABS-CBN News