Shady cock-fighting farms are common enough in the Philippines, but a raid on a small operation in Lipa City south of Manila late last year revealed a much larger problem.
Alongside the cock-fighting spurs and breeding paraphernalia, the raid netted 84 kilograms of “shabu” — the Filipino street name for methamphetamine or “ice” — and three affiliates of the deadly Mexican drug cartel Sinaloa were arrested.
For police, the presence in Asia of one of Mexico’s most powerful organized crime groups was a worrying development.
Not only did it point to growing transnational links between crime groups, it also displayed an increased professionalism in “ice” production as it moves away from its ‘Breaking Bad’ image of cellar drug kitchens and backyard meth labs.
“We have previously received reports that the Mexicans are in the country, but this is the first time we have confirmed that the Mexicans are already here,” Senior Superintendent Bartolome Tobias, chief of the Philippines National Police (PNP) Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force told a news conference.
PNP Director General Alan Purisima said going after the group would “entail more hard work.”
“We know that they are just starting — that’s why we have to act immediately to stop them before they can expand their presence,” Purisima told the news conference.