Philippines seizes $175m worth of 'shabu' in record drugs haul

Philippines seizes $175m worth of 'shabu' in record drugs haul
PHOTO: Reuters

MANILA - Philippine authorities have seized about 6 billion pesos (S$175 million) worth of methamphetamines in a series of anti-narcotics operations this month that have yielded the biggest haul in the country's history, the justice minister said on Tuesday.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) conducted the operations, including one on Monday in San Juan City in the capital Manila where drums of chemicals used to produce methamphetamines, or "shabu" as it is known, were seized.

That followed a raid on Friday in a quiet neighbourhood in the same city, when six people were arrested and 560 kg (1,200 lb) of suspected methamphetamines was found, worth an estimated US$67 million (S$97 million).

"It is not only the biggest haul this year, but the biggest so far in history," Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said in a news conference.

$175m worth of 'shabu' seized in Philippine record drugs haul

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    Methamphetamine, also known locally as 'shabu', worth S$97 million that was seized by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) during a raid, is pictured in San Juan city, metro Manila, Philippines December 23, 2016.

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    Members of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) compile an inventory of methamphetamine, also known locally as 'shabu', worth S$97 million that was seized in a raid in San Juan city, metro Manila, Philippines December 23, 2016.

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    A National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) member unlocks the handcuffs on a Chinese national who was arrested after a raid in which methamphetamine, also known locally as 'shabu', worth S$97 million was seized, in San Juan city, metro Manila, Philippines December 23, 2016.

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    Chinese nationals, who were arrested after agents from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) seized S$97 million worth of methamphetamine, also known as 'shabu', during a raid, look on, in San Juan city, metro Manila, Philippines December 23, 2016.

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    A Chinese national, who was arrested after a raid in which methamphetamine, also known locally as 'shabu', worth S$97 million, was seized, crouches near a packet of the seized drug, in San Juan city, metro Manila, Philippines December 23, 2016.

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    Members of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) inspect equipment used in the making of methamphetamine.

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    Members of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) compile an inventory of methamphetamin.

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    A National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) member (R) stands guard next to Chinese nationals who were arrested after the raid.

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    Methamphetamine, also known locally as 'shabu', worth S$97 million that was seized during a raid is pictured in San Juan city, metro Manila, Philippines December 23, 2016.

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    Men arrested are seen in handcuffs.

The seizures will be a boost for President Rodrigo Duterte, who is facing allegations of widespread human rights violations in a bloody war on drugs dominated by killings of drug users and pushers, with few known arrests of major drug lords.

Duterte has expressed his frustration at the failure of anti-money laundering authorities to chase the trail of drug money, accusing them of helping to fuel corruption and threatening to charge them with crimes.

Agents of the NBI said their latest operation involved an apartment rented by a Chinese national, who was not there when the raid took place.

More than 6,000 people have been killed in the crackdown since Duterte took office in July, roughly a third in police operations. The other deaths are classified as under investigation, many believed to be the work of vigilantes.

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