Crystal Meth and Cartels in the Philippines: The Shabu Trap

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Crystal Meth and Cartels in the Philippines: The Shabu Trap 4.5

At the start of 2015, Mexican national Horacio Hernandez Herrera, allegedly third in command of the infamous Sinaloa Cartel, was arrested in the Philippines’ capital, Manila, at the center of a 12 million peso ($255,000) drug bust.

Herrera’s arrest came as Philippine authorities confirmed that not only were Mexico’s cartels vying for a piece of the country’s rapidly growing drugs trade, but forming an alliance with Chinese syndicates to do so.

The Philippines drug of choice? Shabu: A local name for crystal meth, present in over 90 percent of the capital’s neighborhoods.

While shabu’s popularity has skyrocketed in the last decade — partly for its ability to allow the poorest of Filipinos to work longer hours — the drug's grip on Manila has reached crisis point, as unemployment rates remain high and the collusion of gangs with police and local government becomes an every day occurrence.

So, as Herrera awaits trial in the capital, VICE News takes a look at the Philippines drug trade. We visit the Tondo district of Manila, a port area overwhelmed by shabu, to speak to dealers defending their turf and police officers trying to contend with porous borders, stunted judiciary power, and – their most challenging enemy – corruption within their own forces.

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💬 Comments

17:29 didn't even mask the face of the guy Joseph sold meth to. Smooth move, VICE.

Author — Bible Flock Box


This guy is interviewing low level drug pushers, the real syndicates are hiding behind mansions, protected by narco policemen

Author — Try Again


man I think we're all watching dead people by now

Author — Giovani Coutinho


Plot twist, Dude got hooked on Shabu during the making of this film.

Author — Tyler Conley


“Shabu” means Meth in japanese gang slangs. This situation happened because of the yakuza people...
I’m sorry for philippines😔

Author — 坂本晶馬


These dealers must be dead already its 2019 and the present administration is very brutal in their campaign against shabu..

Author — jed6178


This guy is inhaling meth like its nothing.

Author — Alexander Torres


The government in this country already had everyone in this video killed

Author — chane michal Reynold


Those guys were kinda clumsy with their guns no?

Author — Eric TheBlackCat


I feel bad for the cop doing the interview. He was most definitely killed after this was put out

Author — Estrada603


The reporter is already high being with those addics due to second hand smoke

Author — Jason Gerona


In the making of this film . they dont know its gonna be bloody drug war for the next president will be Rodrigo Duterte.

Author — Bogart Sandiego


“Do you have guns?” “Are you willing to kill?” “Are you willing to take a bribe?” Lots of stupid questions from Dorky McDorkface. Can’t believe he made it outta there.

Author — Mom's Basement


How they zoomed on his watch after he said "the pillars of corruption"

Author — Lon MM


I'm from the philippines wow for my entire life here your the only reporter who interviews both side and have a direct video while they doing the session and the repack. You have some balls man you got my respect.

Author — CJ Dologuin


"They took me out to the brush to train with their weapons"... forward to guys holding weapons weakly and shooting at the ground 5 feet away hahahahaha

Author — Connor Lamb


I'm from the Philippines and maaan i got to say. The reporter got some balls.

Author — Patrick Villanueva


7:45 he high off the people smoking meth around him

Author — Smoketree Fbk


I was very lucky that cops showed compassion with me decades ago.
I’ve done good since then.

Author — Walkin Dude


Imagine doing an interview and then you hear "THIS IS THE POLICE!"

Author — Emperor Palpatine