Probe starts on reports of ‘elite-group’ behind kush delivery in Cebu
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Could there be a group of elite members of society behind the shipment of kush, a variety of high-grade marijuana, here in Cebu?
Authorities from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Visayas (PDEA – 7) announced on Thursday, October 1, they are investigating the incident that involved the delivery of P1.5 million of kush in Cebu City.
PDEA-7 director Levi Ortiz, in a teleconference with reporters, said they were verifying reports that the shipment of kush, which originated from Spain, was intended to be distributed among society’s upper class.
“We’re validating unofficial reports we received that the end-user of the kush we intercepted on September 30 were people who frequented party districts and who happened to be members of the society’s upper classes,” said Ortiz in Cebuano.
“Some of the information we got also said this particular group of people even use kush and other forms of party drugs onboard a yacht. But at this point, everything is yet to be verified,” he added.
On September 30, 2020, agents from PDEA-7 together with Cebu City Police and the officials from the Bureau of Customs (BOC) intercepted a package containing kush in front of a high-end resort in Barangay Banilad, Cebu City.
It contained 1,000 grams of kush worth P1.5 million.
READ MORE: P1.5 million high-grade marijuana seized in Cebu City
Ortiz said the consignee of the shipment, identified as Matteo Abato, and believed to be an Italian national, remained at large.
Abato’s errand boy, Jan Robert Cang Perales, 24, and a resident in Barangay Zapatera, Cebu City, was placed under the custody of PDEA-7 agents after he attempted to receive the package from Spain.
Ortiz said before the operation was conducted, they received information from authorities in Metro Manila, particularly BOC, of a suspicious package bound for Cebu City.
“They alerted us, as well as the PDEA central office, that it could contain illegal drugs and other prohibited substances since they observed that there was a false-bottom compartment,” he said.
Ortiz said that even if Abato had not yet been captured, they would still lodge formal charges against the foreigner for violating the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 (Republic Act No. 9165).
Meanwhile, the PDEA-7 top official said presently, there were no known or suspected plantation sites in Central Visayas where kush was being grown.
Kush, unlike the regular marijuana often uprooted and burned down in the hinterland areas of Cebu island, is smaller and when sold, holds a higher value, said Ortiz.
He said that present street value of one gram of kush was at around P1,500.
“Kush is a highly potent substance. Like cocaine and ecstasy, it is often used during parties. And only a few people can afford to buy it, much more import it,” Ortiz said.
He also said that with only a limited number of people, who have the capacity to buy it, distribution and selling of kush in Central Visayas was not yet rampant. /dbs
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