The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency yesterday warned the public to be wary of the possible presence of shabu laboratories in their areas.
PDEA director general Isidro Lapeña said the move aims to promote public interest, raise awareness of the risks and dangers of shabu laboratories, and seek support in finding these illegal facilities.
The tell-tale signs to look out for that a clandestine shabu laboratory is likely operating in your neighborhood include the presence of large water tanks, thick electrical wires for houses or facilities which should have normal-sized wires, laboratory materials surrounding the properties like empty chemical bottles, drums and other types of chemical containers, specially-constructed chimney or ventilation fan which run for extended hours to get rid of strong odors;
Strong chemical or solvent-like odors coming from the facility, persons in the premises seldom come out but they do come out to smoke, to avoid igniting highly explosive chemicals inside, excessive or irregular water waste coming out of the premises, presence of waste chemicals, discarded materials used to store chemicals, residents who burn their trash instead of discarding them, use of security cameras, odd locks and bars on windows, heavy security like the presence of watch dogs, high fences and barb wires, every opening of the facility is covered or tinted, persons going about their business at odd hours, no traffic during daytime but at wee hours, and frequent visitors with expensive cars, the PDEA said.
“The public should watch out for these tell-tale signs showing the existence of a shabu laboratory in their neighborhood. You might be living near or next to one but unaware of it,” Lapeña said, adding that the successful dismantling of these illegal facilities will significantly suppress the drug supply in the market.
In 2016, eight clandestine shabu laboratories were discovered and shut down nationwide.
Five of these, which include the shabu facilities in Pamplona, Las Piñas City; Subic, Zambales; Barangay Apolonia, Quezon City; Magalang, Pampanga; and Arayat, Pampanga, were dismantled during the first 100 days of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, Lapeña noted.
Manufacturing trends have also evolved, from large scale/industrial type production to small scale/kitchen type labs.
Another trend that was observed during the dismantling of shabu labs in the country is that the production processes were done in stages, with separate and distinct areas for each phase unlike the traditional method of doing the whole production process in one location. This method lessens the possibility of detection of the entire production site used.
Dead or dying trees, plants and grass in the immediate vicinity are no longer frequently observed as signs of the presence of shabu laboratory but there is a recent resurgence of the use of agricultural animal facilities, like pig farms, and sea vessels as fronts for illegal drug production.
Shabu is manufactured through one cooking cycle which is about an average of two to three days. An industrial-type shabu laboratory can produce more than 50 kilograms of shabu in one complete cooking cycle.
PDEA encourages the citizenry to report suspected illegal drug activities and presence of a clandestine laboratory in their community by texting PDEA 24/7 SMS/Text Center's numbers: 0999-8887332, 0927-9150616 or 0925-5737332, or by calling 0939-3960627, (02) 920-0735 or (02) 920-0736.*PNA
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