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(Updated) Former mayor, vice-mayor arrested in drug lab raids in Masbate City

(DEVELOPING STORY)MASBATE CITY -- Voluminous amounts of a substance believed to be shabu were confiscated by police this morning during simultaneous drug busts conducted in residences of a former mayor  here.

Apart from the suspected shabu, police operatives also seized suspected drug laboratory equipment, other chemical materials and precursors.

Police Regional Office (PRO) 5 Spokesman Police Sr. Inspector Maria Luisa Calubaquib told BICOLSTANDARD.COM that the subject of the search were two residences of Lester Abapo.

Authorities say that the raids were conducted at 8:00 a.m. at the two residences of Lester which were described as unnumbered compound with marking "Lovely Abapo Board Member" located long Sitio Cagba, Brgy. Tugbo, and at an unnumbered compound with marking "Secret Garden Resort" located along Nursery Road.

Arrested during the search was  former Milagros town mayor Lester Abapo. Lester is the incumbent punong barangay of F. Magallanes, this city. 

Also apprehended was Lester's first cousin, Cherry Abapo, who was also named in the search warrant.

He,  according to information received by authorities, is one of the laboratories' maintainers.

Cherry was a former mayor of San Fernando town, Masbate. He ran during the 2013 polls for First District Board Member, but lost.

Police also told BICOLSTANDARD.COM that authorities initiated an investigation after they received several tips during the early months of 2014 that drugs were being produced in Masbate.

The illegal substance, according to information received , is reportedly brought to the National Capital Region for distribution.

This successful operation was conducted by joint elements from the PNP-RAIDSOTF, RID-RSG5, PDEA, MAS-PIS, 5th RPSB, PPSC MAS and MAS-CPS.

It was implemented under the authority of Search Warrant Nos. 5038 (15) Target No. 1; 5039 (15) Target No. 2; 5040 (15), Target No. 3 ; and 5041 (15) Target No. 4 which were issued against aka Lester and aka Cherry Boy, Jr., Antonio Lee aka Lee, Mr. Antes Ang aka Co, Ponga Lee, aka Bing, aka Kalbo, aka Manoy Boya, aka Payat, aka Sarge, aka Neth Abapo, aka Nonoy, aka John Does, and aka Jane Does.

Judge Fernando T. Sagun, Executive Judge, RTC Br. 78, Quezon City issued the search warrants.

Inventory of the seized items is ongoing as of time of posting.

The first cousins shall be facing charges for violation of R.A 9165 or Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.--With Report from Duke Maggay, Kabalikat Civicom Regional Coordinator BICOLSTANDARD.COM

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