By Benjie B. Talisic, Nestle L. Semilla |December 01,2018 - 10:22 PM

Cebu City policemen present to the media the 3.8 kilos of shabu, valued at P4.8 million, seized from alleged big-time drug dealer Michael Carabaña, 28, and his cohorts — Jemuel Enrile, 24; Agustine Quijano, 34; and Arnold Arquiza, 37 — during a buy-bust operation at their rented apartment in Barangay Sambag II, Cebu City, on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018.


Cebu City policemen are now going to monitor apartments and pension houses that may be used by drug personalities in their illegal drugs operations.

Senior Supt. Royina Garma, the director of Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), gave the order after more than P41.8 million worth of shabu (crystal meth) were confiscated inside an apartment in Barangay Sambag II, Cebu City, on Friday evening.

This was the second time that a large drug stash was found inside an apartment in barely two weeks, with the discovery in mid-November of over P39 million worth of shabu in another apartment unit in Barangay Tisa, which was used as a base of operation of another drug group.

Barely 24 hours later, amid the CCPO’s renewed drive against illegal drugs, an 18-year-old suspected drug pusher was killed in a buy-bust operation past 8 p.m. on Saturday in F. Cabahug, Cebu City.

The fatality was identified as Rafael Arcipe from Barangay Tipolo, Mandaue City.

Arcipe sustained a gunshot wound on his upper body in an alleged shootout with Cebu City Drug Enforcement Unit (CDEU).

SPO4 Raul Cosido, the team leader of CDEU, said that Arcipe was a newly identified drug personality in the city who was maintaining a drug den area, with construction workers as his customers.

The police were able to recover at least 12 grams of suspected shabu, with an estimated value of P141,600, and a .38 caliber pistol from the suspect.

The police also arrested an alleged cohort of Arcipe identified as Jerry Ytang and rescued a 13-year-old minor during the operation.

While Arcipe was not high in the rank of drug pushers operating in Cebu City, Michael Carabaña, who was nabbed inside the apartment in Barangay Sambag II, was considered a high-value target.

Garma said that they noticed that the drug personalities like Carabaña are now using rented places so they would be difficult to monitor by the police and other drug enforcement agencies.

“Ito na ang style ng illegal drugs operations, na they are renting an apartment. Then somebody will rent the apartment on their behalf and then pagkakuha ng apartment ibang tao na yung titira,” said Garma.

(This is the new style of illegal drugs operations; they [drug personalities) rent an apartment. Then somebody will rent the apartment on their behalf and when they get the apartment, another person will live there.)

Garma said these drug personalities would just wait for the drugs to be delivered to their rented units, after which the stash would be picked up by another set of persons.

“Ganun lang yung style ng operations nila. Compartmentalize yung galaw nila (That is the style of their operations. They compartmentalize their activities),” added Garma.

Three weeks in the making

The latest drug haul resulted from a police drug bust at past 10 p.m. on Nov. 30, said Senior Insp. Dexter Basirgo, the chief of the Guadalupe Police Station who led the operation.

The bust led to the arrest of an alleged big-time drug dealer identified as Michael Carabaña, 28, a resident of Barangay Basak-Pardo.

Arrested also in the operation were the alleged cohorts of Carabaña identified as Jemuel Enrile, 24; Agustine Quijano, 34; and Arnold Arquiza, 37.

Basirgo said that prior to Friday’s drug bust, they had been monitoring the movement of Carabaña for more than three weeks.

“Hapit ni wala madayon kay lisod kay ni siya (Carabaña) masigpatan. Karon naaktuhan na gyud nato,” said Basirgo.

(We almost did not push through with the operation because Carabaña was hard to locate. This time we were able to catch him in the act.)

According to Basirgo, the agents of the drug enforcement unit (DEU) of the Guadalupe police were able to get hold of Carabaña after they successfully transacted with him the purchase of about P12,000 worth of shabu.

The three cohorts of the suspected drug dealer were seen repacking shabu in the apartment when the buy-bust operation was conducted, Basirgo said.

He said they were able to recover 3.8 kilos of shabu with an estimated value of P41.8 million.

The operatives also recovered cash totaling P105,000, which was believed to be proceeds of the drug sales transacted by Carabaña and his group.

Regulate rental places

Garma said that drug pushers, especially those who knew that they were in the radar of the police in their own hometowns, chose to rent apartments in other places where the residents and local or village officials were not familiar with their illegal activities.

She said that as shown by their previous anti-drug operations, those arrested operated inside hotels, apartments, pension houses, and other for rent places in the city.

Last Nov. 18, the police were able to seize 3.3 kilos of shabu with an estimated value of P39 million from a 26-year-old suspected drug suspect, Jeffrey Jade Cabaron.

Cabaron was arrested inside his rented apartment in Barangay Tisa, Cebu City.

But unlike Carabaña who is a suspected drug dealer, the police said that Cabaron was just a drug courier.

“Dito sila sa mga apartment gumagawa ng mga illegal kasi hindi sila kilala,” said Garma.

(They chose to rent an apartment and do their illegal activity from there because they are not known in the area.)

With this, she urged village officials in the city to come up with measures that would allow the close monitoring of rented places in their barangays.

Garma said the barangays governments should regulate the operation of these apartments and pension house.

“They could come up with something na ma regulate nila itong mga ito. Like requiring yung magrerenta na police clearance or any documents na pagkakakilanlan sa kanila,” said Garma.

(They could come up with something to regulate the operation of apartments and pension houses. Like requiring the renters to provide a police clearance or any document that will help them identify the persons renting their places.)

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