14 ‘marijuana plants’ uprooted, flower vendor nabbed

Police arrested a flower vendor and uprooted 14 marijuana plants in Barangay Minoyan, Murcia, Negros Occidental Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of PDEU)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – Police arrested a flower vendor for allegedly cultivating “marijuana” plants at Purok Catugasan 1, Barangay Minoyan, Murcia, Negros Occidental yesterday.

The suspect was identified as Khieno Rubaton, 34, of the said village. He is a newly-identified street-level individual, according to the police.

Police Captain Markelly Laganipa, deputy chief of the Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit (PDEU), said that selling flowers is just a “front” of the suspect.

Laganipa said they conducted the operation against Rubaton after receiving information about his alleged illegal activity.

It took them about three months to monitor Rubaton to confirm the report, he added.

Police recovered from him seven full-grown marijuana plants, seven new marijuana plants, several improvised farming equipment, and 125 grams of suspected dried marijuana leaves worth P15,000.

Laganipa said that even one cultivated marijuana plant is considered an offense.

Laganipa said the plants were kept in the middle of grasses, thus it is not visible unless his client will enter his property.

“Very strategic ang gin tanuman niya kay gin hawanan niya gid para mabutang niya sa tunga na malipdan,” he added.

He believed that the suspect has been allegedly engaging in the said activity for months to a year.

He said the suspect is somehow hesitant to provide more information to the police.

He said the suspect will be charged for violation of Section 16 (cultivation) of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.