MANILA -- Six suspects who were arrested in a drug raid in San Juan City last week were looking for new markets, including Mindanao, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said Tuesday.
About 890 kilograms of methamphetamine hydrochloride or "shabu" that were seized in two separate raids last week appeared to have been manufactured in San Juan, and at least 100 kg were to be transported to the south, investigators said.
Authorities also found about 40 grams of epidrin, and 40 kg of caffeine, according to NBI forensic chemist Felicisima Francisco.
Epidrin is commonly used as a pain reliever for headaches, and caffeine is a stimulant commonly found in coffee and tea.
The uniqueness of the San Juan operation of the "Red Dragon" group, so named by the NBI because of the symbols they place on their drug packets, was that they seemed to mix shabu with caffeine, Francisco said.
"Ang quality [ng shabu] is very high because of the big crystalline quality...hinahaluan ng caffeine kasi mas mura [ito], at pampa-high din ito," she said.
(The quality of the methamphetamine is very high because of the big crystalline quality...they mix it with caffeine, which is cheaper, and also a stimulant.)
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre lauded the NBI for the arrest of six suspects -- three Filipinos and three Chinese.
"[This is the] biggest accomplishment of the NBI in the drug war," he said in a press conference.
Aguirre said that each 1-kg pack of shabu is now worth about P6 to 10 million due to the government's crackdown on illegal drugs. Thus, the contraband seized at the drug laboratory on Mangga Street, San Juan was worth an estimated P3 billion, he said.
Chinese nationals Shi Gui Xiong alias "Xiong," Che Wen De aka "Jacky Tan," and Wu Li Yong alias David Go; and their alleged Filipino cohorts Abdullah Mahmod Jahmal, Salim Cocodao Arafat and Basher Tawaki Jamal face charges for the manufacture, trade, delivery, distribution, possession, and transportation of illegal drugs.