P16M SHABU SEIZED
More than P16 million worth of illegal drugs have been taken off the streets of Cebu, amid allegations that most of the haul were being traded on the say so of a Cebu City Jail inmate.
The amount was the value of the more than a kilo of suspected shabu (crystal meth) that were seized by the police in separate anti-narcotics operations in Cebu since Tuesday evening.
The biggest haul was made by operatives of the Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO) who arrested a couple and two of their alleged cohorts, one of whom is a minor, in a buy-bust operation on Figueroa Street in Barangay San Nicolas, Cebu City on Tuesday evening.
Just hours later, the Balamban Police also arrested early on Wednesday a Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) chairman who was believed to be a big-time drug pusher in their area.
The Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit (PDEU) also nabbed a suspected drug lord in Alegria town in an operation yesterday.
The more than a kilo of suspected shabu seized by operatives of MCPO came from a couple whose base of operation was in Cebu City.
Police arrested Adel Villafuerte, 40, who was the subject of the buy-bust operation and was considered as a high-value target in Cebu City.
Recovered from the suspected drug pusher were the P10,000 marked money, a plastic sachet of suspected shabu that was the subject of the sale, and a pink sling bag with a big ziplock plastic containing 1.2 kilograms of shabu.
Villafuerte’s wife, Jasmin, was also arrested in the same operation together with Ronnel Ylanan, 29, and a 17-year-old boy, all of whom were alleged cohorts of Villafuerte.
The minor was turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Cebu City.
Chief Insp. Rodgene Fodutan, Chief of Jagobiao Police Station in Mandaue who led the operation, said the transaction was done through mobile phone text messages between a policeman from his station who posed as buyer and Villafuerte.
He said they negotiated to buy the drugs after they received an information from a drug personality in Mandaue City on where they get their supply.
They were later directed via a text message to proceed to Cebu City for the exchange.
After coordinating with the Cebu City Police Office to allow the MCPO operatives to complete the transaction, the exchange then proceeded to take place in Figueroa Street, Barangay San Nicolas.
According to Fodutan, they had expected to get only the amount of shabu they were supposed to buy for P10,000 and did not expect that they would end up with a large haul.
“Wa mi magtuo nga ingon ani kadaghan ang shabu among makuha (We never expected we can get as much as this),” said Fodutan.
According to Fodutan, the suspects revealed that their “boss” is at the Cebu City Jail who instructed them of the transactions.
He added that they also recovered from the suspects a blue record book that recorded their weekly drug trading activities.
“Naa didto sa record book nga milyones ang collection o disposal sa shabu matag semana,” said Fodutan.
(The record book contained millions of pesos in collections or disposal of illegal drugs per week.)
Fodutan said that the arrest of Villafuerte and his cohorts was the result of their investigation on their previous arrest of drug pushers and users in Mandaue City.
Most of the suspected drug pushers they arrested divulged that they got their supply of shabu from Villafuerte.
Drug runners for ‘boss’
In an interview with Cebu Daily News, Villafuerte denied that he was a drug pusher, insisting that he and his companions were just “drug runners.”
He said that they were just errand boys instructed by their “boss,” who is currently detained at Cebu City Jail, to deliver drugs and collect payment from it.
“Komisyon ra man amo ani sa nagsugo namo (We only get commission from our boss),” he said.
However, the top official of CCPO believed that the drug suspects arrested by MCPO in Cebu City are members of a big drug group.
Senior Supt. Royina Garma said they were gathering more information about the suspects especially their linkages to drug groups.
“We will check if they are members. But definitely member yang mga yan. Di pa natin sigurado kung anong grupo. Kasi maraming down line yan,” said Garma.
(We will check if they are members. But definitely they are members of a drug group. We are not certain yet as to what group. Because these drug groups have many down lines.)
Garma said that Villafuerte is on their watch list, but he had been disposing drugs outside Cebu City.
“May mga ganito na mga drug pushers na nag cocross boundaries para di malaman agad sa kanilang lugar yung illegal na gawain nila,” said Garma.
(There are drug pushers who would cross boundaries so they would not be detected in the areas where they run their illegal operation.)
The Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit (PDEU) of the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO), on the other hand, arrested a suspected drug lord in Barangay Taboan in Alegria town, southwestern Cebu.
Francisco Ocaña, 46, was arrested by virtue of a search warrant on Wednesday, Sept. 19.
“He is one of our high-value targets in the province,” Senior Insp. Alejandro Batobalonos, the chief of PDEU, said in an interview yesterday.
Batobalonos said that they were able to confiscate from the possession of Ocaña 110 grams of shabu, which has an estimated worth of P1.2 million; some drug paraphernalia; and .22 caliber gun.
On the same day, the Balamban Police Station also arrested a suspected drug pusher who is an incumbent Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) leader in the town.
Reggie Ponce, who is the SK chairman of Barangay Bayong of Balamban town, was arrested in a buy-bust operation.
The police were able to confiscate P141,000 worth of illegal drugs from the SK chairman.
His suspected cohort identified as Renan Sotto, was also arrested in the same operation.
Senior Insp. Deni Mari Pedrozo, Balamban Police Station chief, said they have been monitoring the SK chairman for almost a month following a tip from an informant that Ponce was selling shabu.
“This elected official does not only sell small (packs) but the orders from him are in big volumes,” said Pedrozo.
He added that they initially had difficulties in monitoring and detecting the illegal activities of Ponce because Barangay Bayong is a mountain village
of Balamban that could only be reached by motorcycles. /WITH REPORTER NESTLE SEMILLA
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