Anti-narcotics agents raided an illicit drug laboratory on Thursday and arrested 4 Chinese nationals and 4 Filipinos, acting on what the drug-enforcement agency said was a tip from their Chinese counterparts.
The suspects were arrested in 3 separate locations after agents took control of an illegal laboratory that was capable of producing 25 kilograms of methamphetamine daily, said Aaron Aquino, head of Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency.
It came 2 days after Chinese President Xi Jinping met Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte in China's Hainan province and pledged support for his campaign on illegal drugs.
Aquino said China's National Narcotics Control Commission had been monitoring "drug chemists" flying in and out of the country since October 2017. The laboratory raid and arrests were in the provinces of Batangas and Cavite.
"I would like to express our gratitude to our Chinese counterparts for their intelligence support and cooperation," Aquino told reporters, adding anti-narcotics agents also seized a large amount of chemicals and precursors used for making the illegal drugs.
Aquino said 2 of the 4 Chinese "cooks" were arrested at a poultry farm with 3 Filipinos early on Thursday morning and another Chinese chemist was caught with his Filipino driver in a nearby city.
The fourth Chinese national was arrested hours later in his rented home in Tagaytay.
PDEA has dismantled 9 drug laboratories since July 2016, confiscating nearly P20 billion pesos in precursors, chemicals, and laboratory equipment, said the agency's spokesman, Derrick Carreon.
(Reporting by Manuel Mogato; Editing by Martin Petty and Jacqueline Wong)