NBI files raps over 604 kilos of smuggled ‘shabu’; PDEA ‘almost ready’ to do the same

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Screenshot of News5 report on the P6.4-billion shabu smuggling

MANILA, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation has already filed a case over the 604 kilos of crystal meth, or “shabu,” smuggled inside metal cylinders shipped from China that were later found in a warehouse in Valenzuela City.

The NBI resource person to the Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearing into smuggled drugs on Thursday said the case, filed on August 14, is now pending for preliminary investigation by the Department of Justice.

The agency has recommended charges for importation of dangerous drugs be filed against Chen Hee Min, Jumin Jong, Fidel Anoche, Richard Tan (also known as Richard Chen), Manny Lee, Kenneth Dong, Mark Ruben Taguba, TJ Marcellana, and Eirene Mae Tatad.

The NBI also recommended that a case be filed against Manny Lee, Kenneth Dong, and Taguba for unauthorized practice of the customs brokerage profession.

Previously, Taguba, the broker who allegedly handled the release of container with the shabu from the Customs premises, said Richard Chen may have known the person behind the shipment through a so-called “consignee-for-hire” scheme using EMT Trading.

Taguba explained that the scheme involves using the name of BOC-accredited consignees, like EMT Trading, by another entity for a fee.

Tatad, the sole owner of EMT Trading, had acknowledged that she talked to Taguba about using her name in his transactions as a Customs broker. But she also said she had no knowledge that the shipments contained illegal drugs.

Meanwhile, Taguba said Chen was the owner of Hongfei Logistics, which shipped the container with the illegal drugs, and which owned the warehouse in Valenzuela City where the shabu was found by Bureau of Customs officials.

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On Thursday’s hearing, Taguba, Marcellana, and Chen said they had not yet received a summons to file a counter-affidavit. Tatad and Dong said they had already received one.

A hearing was set for September 18, said the NBI.

Meanwhile, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Isidro Lapeña said that they were also investigating the issue and were “almost ready” to file a case.