Fishpond caretaker arrested in drug sting

By Jennifer P. Rendon

Millions worth of suspected shabu was seized in a police anti-narcotics operation early evening of June 11 in Balasan, Iloilo.

The suspect, Ronnel Miranda Bañes, a 28-year-old fishpond caretaker, was arrested at his workplace, a shelter in Barangay Lawis, Balasan.

Members of the Balasan Municipal Police Station, together with the Iloilo Police Provincial Office – Provincial Intelligence Unit (IPPO-PIU) and SOU Carles SBC, apprehended the suspect after he sold a sachet of suspected shabu for P50,000.

Police further seized 18 more sachets of suspected shabu and a 12-gauge homemade shotgun.

Captain Renzo Martinez, Balasan police chief, said the seized drugs weighed around 704.2 grams with a standard drug price of P4,788,560.

Police records showed that the suspect had no prior criminal involvement. He was not a drug surrenderer nor on the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC) list of illegal drug personalities.

However, Martinez stated that the suspect had been under monitoring since last year. Bañes sometimes worked individually, but in some cases, he had a companion who is also on the police watchlist.

“We considered them as armed and dangerous,” Martinez said. The suspect allegedly operated in the area of Balasan and neighboring towns and sourced his supply from drug distributors in Estancia, Iloilo, and Roxas City, Capiz.

Bañes is now detained and will be charged with violating Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002).