Iloilo City drug stings net P3.774 million in ‘shabu’

By Jennifer P. Rendon

Over half a kilo of shabu was confiscated during twin drug busts in Iloilo City on Good Friday, March 29.

Rodney Tabangcura, 33, from Barangay Balud, Dumangas, Iloilo; his associate Kenneth Dave Arguelles, 27; and their courier Rio Jay Blasa, 18, of Zone 4, Barangay San Juan, Molo, Iloilo City, were apprehended in the sting operations.

Tabangcura was taken into custody at approximately 5:30 p.m. at his rented residence in Barangay San Rafael, Mandurriao district.

A team from the Iloilo City Police Station 5, Regional Police Drug Enforcement Unit (RPDEU) 6, Iloilo City Police Office-City Drug Enforcement Unit (ICPO-CDEU), and ICPO Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) executed the arrest after Tabangcura sold a sachet of suspected shabu for P17,000.

During the search that followed, police found an additional 10 sachets of shabu and various non-drug items.

The confiscated drugs, totaling 225 grams, are valued at a standard price of P1,530,000 and have a street value of P4.5 million.

Tabangcura admitted that his drug supply was delivered via courier and said he distributed them to the towns of Guimbal and Miag-ao in Iloilo, as well as to Aklan, Capiz, and Antique provinces.

It has been disclosed that Tabangcura had been using hotel rooms and AirBnB rentals to repackage drugs for street-level distribution. He later confessed to having an accomplice who resided in his rented condominium unit in Mandurriao district.

The information led RPDEU-6 and other law enforcement groups to devise a plan to arrest Arguelles.

Arguelles, accompanied by Blasa, was arrested around 10:55 p.m. in a condominium unit at Barangay Buhang Taft-North, Mandurriao, after “selling” a sachet of shabu for P16,000.

Authorities also confiscated an additional 10 sachets of shabu, P1,000 in cash, drug paraphernalia, and other non-drug items from them.

RPDEU-6 team leader Captain Glenn Soliman reported that the seized shabu weighed about 330 grams with a standard drug value of P2.244 million.

Tabungcura, currently on probation for a previous drug-related offense, along with Arguelles and Blasa who have no prior arrests, are now in custody.

They will face charges under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, Republic Act 9165.

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