A ‘DRUG LORD’ HAS FALLEN
A suspected big-time drug lord said to have the same supplier as slain drug lord Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz was arrested Friday with a large stash of shabu (methamphetamine) valued at P20.4 million by agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Visayas (PDEA-7), the biggest haul for the agency since the start of the Duterte administration.
The arrest of Marwin Abelgas, 27, inside a subdivision in Barangay Dumlog, Talisay City, on Friday morning came less than two days since President Rodrigo Duterte, on Wednesday, tagged Cebu as having the highest drug rate in the country.
Abelgas, 27, the alleged leader of the Abelgas Drug Group in Cebu, had a prior drug peddling case dismissed by the court. He is said to be a nephew of a person who was linked to slain drug lord Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz, according to PDEA-7 Director Yogi Filemon Ruiz.
Abelgas was arrested shortly after he handed over a pack of shabu to an undercover agent inside his residence in Deca Homes, Barangay Dumlog, where PDEA-7 agents found in a subsequent search about five kilos of the prohibited drug valued at P20.4 million.
While Friday’s seized drug was the largest for PDEA-7, the biggest amount of shabu so far uncovered in Central Visayas was the one that the Cebu City Police Office seized last Jan. 28 in Barangay San Nicolas, Cebu City, from spouses Mark and Mercy Abella, which was worth P120 million.
Abelgas, on the other hand, was arrested along with four of his alleged cohorts, namely, Kate Estrera, 23; Juvan Torres, 28; Wyett Arceo, 19; and Daphni Rose Flores, 26.
“Had we not seized these prohibited drugs, many lives and families could have been destroyed. Hopefully, others (who are into illegal drugs) will learn that this kind of business leads to nowhere,” said Ruiz in a press conference yesterday.
Charges for violating Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, particularly for selling shabu, will be filed against Abelgas before the Talisay City Prosecutors’ Office next week. The offense is non-bailable.
PDEA-7 has yet to determine the individual participation of the other respondents.
Abelgas spoke in behalf of the other suspects and denied having in possession the seized items. He said he was selling drugs but not as much as those seized by the PDEA-7 agents.
“Namaligya ko pero ginagmay lang. Wala koy kalabutan nianang nakuha nila ron. (I sell drugs but only in small quantities. I don’t know about the packs of shabu which were confiscated by PDEA-7),” he told reporters.
Abelgas, who is now detained at the PDEA-7 stockade along with his cohorts, was also arrested in 2010 for selling illegal drugs. But he was released from the Cebu City Jail in 2016 after the court dismissed the drug charges filed against him.
Abelgas said he went back to selling drugs “tungod lagi sa kawad-on (because of poverty).”
But Ruiz said Abelgas was a major drug dealer who was placed under surveillance for over a month.
“His name cropped up in previous operations. We got information from the cell phones we confiscated, and from there, we conducted an in-depth investigation against him,” he said.
Ruiz said they communicated with Abelgas who agreed to deliver a medium-sized pack of shabu worth P300,000 to a poseur-buyer at Deca Homes in Barangay Dumlog, Talisay City, past 9 a.m. on Friday.
Also found inside his residence were 10 packs of shabu totaling five kilos, three other packs containing 0.09 grams of shabu, a weighing scale and four ATM cards.
Ruiz said Abelgas has provided illegal drugs to Cebu City and other areas in Central Visayas.
“He’s a major drug distributor. As a level three drug personality, he can dispose of at least five kilos of shabu per week. Also, he wouldn’t entertain orders with just less than 100 grams,” he said.
Ruiz said they were still investigating where Abelgas got his supply of illegal drugs, but it was possible that his drug trader was the same source as the one who used to supply Jaguar.
Abelgas’ uncle Rolando Abelgas, an alleged member of the Jaguar Drug Group, had just finished playing volleyball when unknown assailants approached and shot him in May 2015.
Police believed the killing had something to do with a rivalry in the illegal drug trade.
Ruiz said drug traders should either abandon the trade or skip out of Cebu.
“Never think you will be successful in what you are doing. For sure, sooner or later, you will be arrested. The government is serious. Now, there are no such thing as untouchables,” he warned.
Despite the President’s pronouncement tagging Cebu as having the highest number of drug cases in the country, Ruiz believed that they were able to cripple the activities of drug syndicates in Cebu due to the nonstop operations against illegal drugs.
The Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), along with the different police stations and units in the region, has seized at least 22,046.58 grams of shabu worth P260.14 million since July 1 last year.
Some 106,980 drug pushers and users surrendered to authorities while 5,413 were arrested.
At least 157 drug suspects were killed in different operations in the region, while 352 others were gunned down by unknown assailants.
Yesterday, another drug suspect was added to the list, with the killing of Felix “Balao” Bohol in Danao City past 1 a.m. on Friday during an alleged shootout with the city’s policemen.
Bohol’s two cohorts identified as Vito Quirks, 38, and Joven Aguilar surrendered to authorities after they were cornered by Danao City policemen led by Senior Insp. Alejandro Batobalonos.
Batobalonos said their undercover agents initially negotiated to buy drugs from Quirks and Aguilar, but the two men later woke up Bohol who immediately sensed they were transacting with policemen and tried to run away.
Batobalonos said Bohol was ordered to stop; but he instead fired at the policemen, prompting the cops to shoot back, hitting Bohol in his body. He was brought to hospital but died before he got there.
He said they recovered from Bohol a .38 revolver with one misfired empty shell, two bullets from the same gun, P700 in cash and a medium-sized plastic pack containing illegal drug worth P119,000.
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