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P5.9 M shabu seized from Kerwin cohorts

By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol October 20,2016 - 10:13 PM

KERWIN COHORT JESRYL BACALLA AND WIFE JEAN ARRESTED/OCT.20,2016:Kerwin espinosa cohort Jesryl Bacalla and wife Jean Bacalla Barangay Councilor Poblacion 3 Bay-Bay Leyte is in deapth tooths after they were arrested in a buy bust operation with CIB and CAEDSOTG in their residence in Barangay Labangon siezed from the suspect were 5.9 million worth of shabu.(CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON)

Jesryl and Jean Bacalla, a couple from Baybay City, Leyte, were arrested with more than 500 grams of shabu in a buy-bust operation in Labangon, Cebu City. They are said to be members of the Espinosa drug syndicate. (CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON)

Are members of the Espinosa drug syndicate operating in Eastern Visayas now trading drugs in Cebu to avoid the heat of police operations there?

The Cebu City Police Office (CPPO) is tracking the whereabouts of other members of the Espinosa drug group who might have moved to Cebu following the arrest of a couple with alleged links to suspected drug lord Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa in Barangay Labangon.

“We are closely coordinating with our counterparts in Leyte to identify and arrest those involved in Kerwin’s illegal drug operations,” said CCPO director, Senior Supt. Joel Doria as an investigation is underway to trace other members of Kerwin’s group hiding in the city.

Jesryl Bacalla, 43, and his wife Jean, 46, fell in the hands of Cebu City police operatives at past 10 p.m., Wednesday, after Jesryl attempted to sell a pack of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) to an undercover policeman in his rented apartment in Labangon.

An estimated 500.5 grams of shabu valued at about P5.9 million were also confiscated from a bag found inside Jesryl’s room.

Jesryl’s wife Jean, a councilor of Barangay Poblacion Zone 3 in Baybay City, southern Leyte, who claimed that she was only in Cebu to visit her husband, was also arrested.

The couple did not resist arrest, said Chief Insp. Christopher Navida, chief of the Cebu City Intelligence Branch (CIB).

The couple is now detained at the CCPO stockade while awaiting charges for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Jesryl, whom police described to be a member of Kerwin’s drug group, reportedly decided to seek refuge in Cebu City last September in order to evade arrest in Baybay City.

“Mainit na kasi siya sa Leyte so nagpunta siya rito sa Cebu para magtago (Jesryl knew policemen in Leyte were hot on their pursuit so he decided to come to Cebu City to hide),” he said in an interview.

Jesryl, who was born and raised in Cebu City, moved to Baybay in the 1990s after marrying Jean.

In an interview with reporters, Jesryl admitted that he was a drug runner in Baybay who was paid to bring shabu from one place to another; but he denied being part of Kerwin’s drug group.

“Dili ko tawo ni Kerwin! (I don’t belong to Kerwin’s group),” Jesryl exclaimed from his detention cell, seemingly in protest to a reporter’s query.

According to the suspect, he sourced his illegal drug supplies from somewhere in Mindanao although he refused to divulge where exactly.

“Ihatud ra man na ang drugs nako. Wa ko kaila diin gikan (My supplies of illegal drugs were usually sent to me by someone. I don’t know who),” Jesryl said.

According to Jesryl, after President Rodrigo Duterte took office last June 30, he opted to stay away from illegal drugs for fear that he might get killed.

He eventually left Baybay City and returned to Labangon where he grew up.

“Naglikay sa ko. Nagpabugnaw. Kon magpabilin man gud ko sa Baybay City, bisan pa og moundang ko, ila man gyud gihapon ko nga kuhaon (I had to stay away from drugs. I needed to cool down because even if I stopped the drug trade but remained in Baybay City, police would still hunt me down),” he said.

It was only recently, Jesryl said, that he decided to go back to selling drugs because he was running out of money.

He then requested for about 500 grams of shabu from his source.

“Pobre na kaayo ko mao nga nagpahatod ko og supply. Pero moundang na baya gyud unta ko kay risgo ba (I was already very poor so I asked for a supply of drugs though I had really wanted to stop because of the risks),” he said.

Jesryl claimed to be a former employee of the Baybay City government before he allegedly stopped working after undergoing a gall bladder surgery.

His wife, Jean, claimed that she was never into selling illegal drugs although she occasionally used shabu together with her husband.

“Kami-kami ra gud. Panagsa ra man pud (We do it by ourselves on rare occasions),” she said.

Seen on the suspects’ cellphone was a video of themselves sniffing illegal drugs, police said.

“Gusto ko makalimot nga dunay kabit ang akong bana (I wanted to forget that my husband had a mistress),” she said.

Despite problems with her husband, Jean said she skipped at least two barangay council sessions to visit him in Cebu City.

Jesryl and Jean, who had been married for 25 years, have four children aged 24, 12, 9, and 4.

The eldest son is detained in Baybay City after he was arrested for possession of illegal drugs.

The couple’s three other kids were with them when they were arrested in a joint police operation by CIB, the City Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force, and the police stations in Pardo and Punta Princesa.

The three small children were waiting outside the CCPO stockade for their relatives to pick them up.

Doria said another drug suspect who was earlier arrested by police in Barangay Pardo tipped them about Jesryl’s drugs operations.

Doria believed that Kerwin, who hails from Barangay Hipodromo, Cebu City, continues to run his drug trade through his cohorts in Cebu.

“We can’t totally get rid of them. They are just there although they seem to lie low due to our relentless campaign against illegal drugs,” he said.

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TAGS: Cebu City Police Office, cohorts, drug pushers, illegal drug trade, illegal drugs, Joel Doria, Kerwin Espinosa, shabu

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