By Jennifer P. Rendon
In less than 11 hours, almost P8 million worth of shabu were seized in three drug operations in Panay Island on Wednesday, Jan 18, 2023.
It is no coincidence that the operations were done in a single day.
Brigadier General Leo Francisco, Western Visayas police chief, said that the series of arrests was part of their security measures for the Dinagyang Festival 2023, which will highlight on Jan 21 and 22.
“One of our preparations is to conduct target hardening against criminal elements and continuous monitoring of high-value individuals (HVIs) in the different provinces, municipalities, and barangays. With that, we were able to apprehend a sizeable volume of illegal drugs,” he said.
The region’s top cop said that intelligence-driven operations against known illegal drug peddlers are being conducted by different drug units all over the region.
Francisco said they have several targets that were being monitored prior to this because they were already anticipating a big volume to come in for the Dinagyang Festival fever.
“Kaya bantay-sarado talaga kami. It paid off. This is a result of focused anti-illegal drugs operations,” he said.
The Police Regional Office (PRO)-6 recorded the biggest haul in its operation at Iloilo province following the arrest of a 20-year-old man in Carles town.
Matthew James Bacos, a resident of Barangay Botongon, Estancia, was nabbed in a buy-bust operation at Shangrila Beach Resort in Barosbos village, Carles around 10:45 p.m.
Members of the Carles Municipal Police Station, Iloilo Police Provincial Office-Provincial Intelligence Unit, IPPO Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit Team 3, and 2nd Iloilo Provincial Mobile Force Company, collared Bacos after he handed a big plastic sachet of suspected shabu worth P600,000.
Police later recovered the marked money and item, eight plastic bags and 20 big sachets of suspected shabu, and other non-drugs items.
Based on IPPO’s report, the seized drugs weighed around a kilo and were valued at P6.8 million.
Major Robert Jayson Pancha, Estancia police chief, could not be immediately reached for comment.
But in its report, the IPPO noted that “tactical Interrogation is still ongoing to locate the source of illegal drugs, links, and accomplices for further follow-up operations.”
Prior to the Carles bust, two former convicts were arrested in another buy-bust operation at 1:25 p.m. at Barangay Dinginan, Roxas City, Capiz.
The suspects were identified as Junerod Jamili, 39, of Barangay VII, Roxas City, and Anjhell Dellota, 23, of Barangay Punta Tabuc, Roxas City.
Members of the Capiz PPO-PDEU and Roxas City Component Police Station arrested the duo after they sold a sachet of suspected shabu for P7,000.
When later frisked, the suspects yielded 11 sachets of suspected shabu, a mobile phone, a coin purse, and a bag.
Police also took the duo’s Suzuki Celerio subcompact hatchback (license plate FAL-6457).
The seized shabu weighed around 32 grams and has a standard drug price of P217,600.
Lieutenant Colonel Aron Paloma, Roxas City police chief, said the duo are both listed as street-level pushers.
They were previously arrested for the same offense but were released after availing of the plea-bargaining agreement.
Meanwhile, members of the Regional Police Drug Enforcement Unit (RPDEU) 6 and the Iloilo City Police Station 4 arrested another suspected drug peddler around 11:52 p.m. at Barangay East Timawa, Molo, Iloilo City.
Rogelio Evangelista, 40, of Barangay Calaparan, Arevalo, Iloilo City, yielded 30 sachets of suspected shabu.
The confiscated shabu is worth P952,000.
All suspects are now detained and will be charged with violation of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002).