Negative lab tests lead to drug case dismissal

CRIMINAL charges against a suspected drug peddler from Dumalag, Capiz were dismissed after laboratory examination showed that the items seized during an anti-narcotics operation were not shabu.

Ma. Conchita Caldetera-Berjamin, assistant provincial prosecutor of the Capiz Provincial Prosecutor Office, ordered the dismissal of the complaint against 22-year old Nelson Nicolas for violation of Sections 5 and 11, Section II of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002).

The decision also ordered Nicolas’s release from the custody or detention at Dumalag Police Station.

The order was signed March 1, 2019, a day after Nicolas was subjected to a buy-bust operation 7:35 p.m. at Barangay Sto. Angel, Dumalag.

According to reports, members of the Capiz Provincial Drugs Enforcement Unit (PDEU) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 6 (PDEA-6) conducted the operation against the suspect.

The sworn statements of Police Corporals Rodrigo Salvador Jr., and Mark Durana claimed that Nicolas allegedly sold a sachet of “shabu” for P1,000.

After the arrest, police claimed that Nicolas yielded two sachets “containing white crystalline substance which appears to be methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu.”

The three sachets were submitted to the PDEA-6 Laboratory Service in Iloilo City for examination.

But based on the chemistry report, the three sachets recovered from Nicolas are all negative for dangerous drugs.

Despite that, Captain Pedro Diocson, Dumalag police chief, said reports have been persistent on Nicolas’ alleged involvement in illegal drugs.

Before the operation was conducted, they conducted a surveillance operation against the suspect.

Alex Tablate, PDEA-6 chief, said there’s a possibility that the items recovered from the suspect were tawas or alum powder.

Alum is a type chemical compound also known as potassium aluminum sulfate. Just like shabu, it is a crystalline substance that can be colorless or white.

Filipinos use táwas in laundry and for whitening armpits

“Pwede rin na ang nakuha sa kanya ay dinurog na candy. There could have been reagents used in the sachets seized from Nicolas’ possession,” Tablate said.

It is also possible that Nicolas duped his customers into believing that he was selling shabu. It is also probable that Nicolas, too, was duped by his supplier.