By Glazyl Y. Masculino and Jennifer P. Rendon
Police in the cities of Bacolod and Iloilo and the province of Iloilo recovered more than P2 million worth of suspected shabu or crystal meth in separate buy-bust operations over the weekend.
In Bacolod, two persons were arrested while P1,176,400 worth of suspected shabu were seized in separate buy-bust operations here from August 18 to 19.
The biggest drug haul was reported in Barangay Vista Alegre last Saturday, with the confiscation of 153 grams of suspected shabu worth P1,040,400.
Operatives of the City Drug Enforcement Unit (CDEU) arrested Alfredo Aplasca Jr., 57, of the said village.
Also confiscated from him were the P1,000 marked money, and P150.
Police Captain Joven Mogato, CDEU head, said the suspect was previously arrested for the same offense and had served his sentence.
Meanwhile, a construction worker was also arrested in Barangay Villamonte last Friday which resulted in the seizure of 20 grams of suspected shabu worth P136,000.
Police identified the suspect as Jose Godinez, 39, of Barangay Estefania.
Also recovered from him were the P500 marked money, and P470.
In Iloilo City, A fish vendor and his two friends were collared in a police anti-narcotics operation evening of August 18 in Jaro district.
Arturo Castor, 47, the main target of the anti-illegal drugs operation, was arrested along with Danilo Puga, 48, and Felicito Cuenca, 54. All suspects are residents of Barangay Tabuc Suba, Jaro.
The suspects allegedly sold a sachet of suspected shabu for P25,000 to a police poseur buyer.
The team led by the Iloilo City Police Office – City Drug Enforcement Unit (ICPO-CDEU), together with the Iloilo City Police Station 3 and Coast Guard District Western Visayas (CGDWV)-Intelligence Group, subsequently handcuffed and frisked the suspects.
They yielded three more sachets and a knot-tied plastic bag of suspected shabu, a coin purse, a mobile phone, a wallet, and a sling bag.
Lieutenant Colonel Antonio Benitez Jr., CDEU chief, said the seized drugs weighed around 110 grams and has a standard drug price value of P748,000.
Benitez said Castor has a previous drug-related arrest.
He was detained for violation of Section 11, Article II of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002).
He served his sentence for more than 12 years and was granted parole on Jan. 3, 2020.
Cuenca, on the other hand, had a previous case for violation of Republic Act 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act) and Presidential Decree 1602 (Providing Stiffer Penalties on Illegal Gambling).
Benitez said that Castor was subjected to a two-week surveillance operation before he and his friends were arrested.
It was gathered that some residents had complained about Castor’s alleged illegal drug activity in the area.
He allegedly sourced his supply from Pavia, Iloilo and had Iloilo City as his area of operations.
But unlike other drug peddlers, Castor would only sell to customers who would purchase at least a “bulto” or five grams of shabu.
The suspects are now detained and will be charged for violation of RA 9165.
Meanwhile, almost P1 million worth of suspected shabu was seized in a police anti-illegal drug operation afternoon of August 19 in Passi City, Iloilo.
The drug sting led to the arrest of Manuel Gapasin Jr., 58, and Joemarie Barcelona Jr., 25, both residents of Purok 7, Hacienda, Barangay Batu, Passi City; and Ryan Guevarra, 44, a construction from Barangay Rizal Pala-Pala, Zone 2, City proper Iloilo City.
All suspects are considered as “high value individuals” (HVIs), according to the police.
The three suspects were arrested after they allegedly connived in selling a sachet of suspected shabu for P24,500.
Members of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group (DEG) led the operation.
They were supported by operatives from the Passi City Component Police Station and the Iloilo Police Provincial Office-Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit (IPPO-PDEU).
When they were frisked, the suspects yielded a pouch containing eight more sachets and two knot-tied plastic of suspected shabu.
Lieutenant Colonel Aron Palomo, Passi City police chief, said the seized drugs weighed around 145 grams and were valued at P986,000.
Palomo said Gapasin is considered a supplier for street peddlers in Passi City.
Several arrested drug personalities in the area have pointed to Gapasin as their source.
Palomo said Barcelona is a drug surrenderer while Gapasin has a previous drug-related arrest but was released after availing of the plea bargaining agreement.
Reports claimed that the trio sourced their supply in Iloilo City.
The three are now detained and will be charged for violation of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002).