Police busted 123 customers, 57 of them foreigners, and 31 workers at a high-end bar in Makati City during Saturday’s dawn undercover raid aimed at the alleged widespread sale of illegal party drugs at the establishment.
Joint operatives of the Southern Police District and Makati City police force swooped down on Time Dance and Nightclub located along Makati Avenue in Barangay Poblacion around 4:30 am after one of its employees sold drugs worth P22,500 to an undercover police operative.
“During initial search, several pieces of evidence were recovered at the tables, chairs of some of the guests while 31 employees of the said establishment are currently held for investigation,” said SPD spokesman Jenny Tecson, citing the initial report sent by the Makati City police station.
“More or less 125 foreign and local guests were invited for questioning and were released later,” she added.
Tecson said some of the evidences seized from the establishment were 315 grams of cocaine worth more than P1.5 million, 19 tablets and capsules of ecstasy worth P142,000, a small plastic of sachet with a high-grade marijuana called kush, one .38-cal revolver and five live ammunitions, drug pharaphernalia and the P22,500 marked money used in the buy-bust.
“The result of the buy-bust operation showed that when a customer asked for [a drug] the employee will get and provide,” said National Capital Region Police Office director Guillermo Eleazar.
Eleazar said other areas of the establishment will be placed under a search warrant to check the vaults where bulk of cocaine is suspectedly being kept.
The police are also coordinating with the city’s Business Permit Licensing Office to check on the licenses and permits of the eatablishment.
“We have coordinated with the Business and Permit Licensing Office. They will be closing the establishment effectively today,” said Eleazar.
The raid came following intelligence reports that employees of the bar allegedly acted as distributors and suppliers and the ones directly selling drugs to its customers, who are mostly foreigners.
Among the 31 employees now being held at the Makati City police station are bartenders, waiters, receptionists, bouncers, cashiers and security personnel of the establishment.
Authorities said ecstasy is a Class-A drug, which is an artificial stimulant, popular among clubbers. They added those who take the drug can have a rush of energy which makes them alert, excited and happy.
Those taking the drug can feel anxious or getting panic attacks, and developing confused episodes, paranoia or even psychosis.
There were 200 ecstasy-related deaths reported in the United Kingdom since 2006.
In June 2016, actress Alma Concepcion appeared to the National Bureau of Investigation to shed light on the party concert in Pasay City where five people collapsed and later died reportedly due to alcohol and illegal drugs intake.
The actress wrote on her social media account about what she saw before and during the May 21, 2016 Close Up Forever Summer concert event at the SM Mall of Asia.
Based on the histopathology and toxicology test results, party drug ecstasy is among the substances found in the bodies of two fatalities -- American national Eric Miller and Ken Miyagawa.
PNP Crime Laboratory chief deputy director Emmanuel Aranas said Miller and Miyagawa died of multiple organ failure caused by drug and alcohol intake. He added the two tested positive for ecstasy.
Late last year, authorities revealed that criminal syndicates still dared to smuggle illegal substance despite the ongoing drug war in the country initiated by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
They said the international drug syndicates are also using the Philippine postal system to transport contraband including cocaine, cannabis and party drug ecstasy.
Customs agents assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport seized in October a contraband at the Central Mail Exchange Center (CMEC) in Pasay City. Some of the parcels which arrived at CMEC are from USA.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said that the country’s drug problem can now be classified as national security threat.
The authorities vowed that the government’s crackdown on drug dealing in the country will continue with the goal of catching protectors and financiers of the illegal drug trade.