by Ramon Efren R. Lazaro
A nata de coco manufacturer based in Santa Maria town has found bigger profit by selling methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu.
PDEA Director General Undersecretary Jose S. Gutierrez, Jr. identified the suspect as Chua Kian Cheng, alias A-Pe Chua, 40 years old, owner of a food manufacturing business in Sta. Maria, Bulacan that is engaged in processing nata de coco.
In a statement, Guitierrez said the suspect claims that he is a native of Xiamen , China and holds a tourist visa and renews it every three monthsfor the last two and a half years.
. “Coordination is being made with the Bureau of Immigration to verify the claims of the suspect as he could not present his passport,” Gutierrez added.
The suspect was apprehended when operatives of PDEA, supported by elements from the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC), conducted a buy-bust operation.
A poseur-buyer was able to transact business with Chua for the purchase of 100 grams of
shabu worth P400,000.00 on April 30 wherein the suspect agreed to rendezvous with the poseur-buyer along Balasing Street , Barangay Pulong Buhangin in Santa Maria town.
Upon the pre-arranged signal, joint operatives of PDEA and PAOCC apprehended the suspect who has in his posession 100 grams of shabu.
“Chua has the capacity to deal up to 5 kilos of shabu per transaction. We could have entered into a bigger transaction to nail him deeper, but we were constrained by our limited resources,” Gutierrez said.
Guiterrez added that Chua is a member of the Li-Chua Drug Group and has been under the surveillance of PDEA. From 2009, a total of 15 members of the Li-Chua Drug Group have been arrested, including Chua.
The suspectis presently under the custody of PDEA and shall face charges for selling dangerous drugs in violation of Section 5, Article II, Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Gutierrez explained that the Li-Chua Group has operations in Metro Manila and adjacent provinces in Regions 3 and 4A and based on intelligence reports, the said group used to operate two shabu clandestine laboratories dismantled by PDEA in the past two years.
One was the mini-laboratory in Caloocan dismantled in February 2011, and the other one
was in Las Piñas dismantled in August 2010.
Records show that from 2002 to present, a total of 247 Chinese were arrested by PDEA and other law enforcement units for violating RA 9165. This comprises 53 percent of all the foreign nationals arrested for involvement in illegal drug activities in the country.
This year alone, 11 Chinese have already been apprehended: five were involved in operating the Ayala Alabang clandestine laboratory, the otherswere involved in bulk-selling and possession of shabu.