EXCEPT for a few remnants who are being hunted, the Sinaloa’s “joint venture” with Chinese drug lords has been put out of business, the spokesman for the Philippine National Police-Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (AIDSOTF) said on Monday.
Chief Insp. Roque Merdeguia said contrary to reports that the Mexican drug cartel has penetrated the local drug market, its members have scuttled plans of expanding in the Philippines.
Merdeguia said he was not sure if the cartel will move its operations to another country.
“They can no longer operate here. They know they are being followed and their remnants are on our radar. We will ask the Bureau of Immigration to put up a look out list for these personalities,” Merdeguia told The Manila Times.
He said they are monitoring the movements of “more than five” Sinaloa members, three of whom have been charged before the Department of Justice.
“They have shrunk in number. They ran away. It might take a decade before they could plan to try their luck again here,” Merdeguia said.
He earlier said the raid on the cartel’s lair in Lipa City last Christmas “nipped in the bud” a plan by the cartel to join forces with Chinese drug lords.
The raid led to the seizure of 84 kilos of high-grade methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu and the arrest of three suspects.
Merdeguia said he had no information about the reported plan of the cartel to assassinate their members who have been arrested, and that it was the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) who made the claim.
Last week, Mexico’s ambassador to the Philippines Julio Camarena Villasenor said he doubted there are Sinaloa members in the Philippines since no Mexican has been arrested.
But Merdeguia said he has evidence that the members of the cartel were here.
So far, he said, Carlos Isaac Ochoa, Jaime Ibarra Sanchez and a certain “Fernando Jose” were charged as alleged cohorts of Jorge Torres, the cartel’s supposed point man in the Philippines.
The task force filed charges of delivery, transportation and possession of illegal drugs under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act (Republic Act 9165) against the suspects, who are all from Sinaloa, Mexico.
In its complaint, the AID-SOTF said surveillance operations in October and November last year showed the connection between the group and Horacio Hernandez, a “mid-level Sinaloa drug cartel” member and those who were charged.
Hernandez, who arrived in the country on October 28, 2013, was allegedly ordered by the cartel to set up a joint venture with a Chinese drug ring led by Gary Tan, who was arrested in the Lipa City drug bust.
Sources said Hernandez met with the Chinese drug personalities at the Resorts World Hotel in Pasay City, which is a stone’s throw from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Merdeguia said the Chinese contacts “dispersed” following the Lipa City raid but that AID-SOTF never lost track of them.