By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

PROBE ON. PNP information chief and spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo shows the recovered vehicles possibly connected to PHP9.68 billion shabu in a checkpoint in Batangas province in a presser in Camp Crame on Thursday (April 25, 2024). The two vehicles were caught on CCTV footage together with the van carrying the contraband which was intercepted in a checkpoint in Alitagtag town on April 15. (PNA photo by Lloyd Caliwan)

MANILA – Authorities have recovered two abandoned vehicles possibly connected to the PHP9.68 billion shabu shipment intercepted in a checkpoint in Batangas province on April 15.

In a press conference held at Camp Crame on Thursday, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said the Highway Patrol Group recovered a black Toyota Land Cruiser and a white Ford Explorer about 400 meters apart from each other in San Luis, Pampanga on April 21.

Fajardo said the two recovered vehicles were seen in a closed circuit television (CCTV) camera footage together with the van carrying the contraband which was flagged down in a checkpoint in Alitagtag town.

Fajardo said the vehicles are now under the custody of the Police Regional Office 4A (Calabarzon) for further investigation, which primarily aims to identify its owner.

She said a micro-etching procedure is being conducted for the possible recovery of the DNA of those who left the vehicles, as well as for possible traces of illegal drugs.

“Based on investigation, the black Land Cruiser was left in the area noontime of April 20, but somebody returned to drive it on that same night and it was transferred, while the white Ford Explorer was also transferred and was left at the area where the black Land Cruiser was first brought,” Fajardo said.

Fajardo said the two vehicles were already bearing different plate numbers upon recovery.

However, further investigation revealed that these vehicles were the ones seen on the CCTV footages obtained by the police.

Fajardo said the Pampanga police has already obtained statements that may lead to the identity of the individuals who abandoned the two luxury vehicles.

She, however, declined to elaborate while investigations are ongoing.

Fajardo said police probers have established that the person who rented the yacht allegedly used to transport the narcotics through the waters off Nasugbu town is the same person who rented a house which was raided by the police in connection to the drug haul.

She said investigators are looking for some more vehicles and houses linked to the drug haul which resulted in the arrest of the van’s driver Alajon Michael Zarate. (PNA)