By Jennifer P. Rendon and Glazyl Y. Masculino
More than P13 million worth of suspected drugs were seized in anti-narcotics operations in Iloilo province and Bacolod City since Wednesday.
In Estancia, Iloilo, two brothers yielded more than a kilo of suspected shabu in a drug bust early morning of Nov. 23, 2023.
Police arrested Arman Diocos, 40, the main target of the operation, and his half-brother, 35-year-old Michael Diocos, at the former’s home in Barangay Cano-an, Estancia around 5:12 a.m. on Thursday.
The duo allegedly sold a sachet of suspected shabu for P10,000.
Police later seized from the suspects a belt bag containing 13 more pieces of suspected shabu, a black holster; a homemade 12-gauge shotgun (break type), assorted coins, various drug paraphernalia and several non-drug items.
Lieutenant Renzo Martinez, Estancia police chief, said the seized drugs weighed around 1.1 kilograms valued at P7,480,000.
Arman allegedly sourced his supply from Roxas City but his transaction emanated from a contact at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.
Arman was arrested in 2015 for a drug-related offense and illegal possession of a firearm.
Martinez said he is still checking how Arman got out of jail.
On September 2023, he was also arrested in Panit-an, Capiz after a gun was seized from his possession in a checkpoint operation. He was released on bail for the said case.
Aside from Estancia and neighboring towns, the suspects also operate in some areas in Capiz province.
Although the two have been monitored for two months, it took a while for authorities to arrest them.
Martinez said they attempted to transact with Arman in the past but it did not materialize.
“He doesn’t trust new customers. He’s very careful in dealing with clients,” Martinez said.
A confidential asset was eventually used to meddle in the transaction.
Meanwhile, Martinez said that the recent anti-illegal drugs operations in Estancia also alarmed police authorities.
Since June 2023 when he assumed post, they already conducted 14 operations, which resulted in the confiscation of more than P20 million worth of drugs.
The biggest was the one conducted last Sept. 30 at Barangay Tacbuyan.
Police seized around 1.6 kilograms of shabu valued at P10,880,000.
Martinez owed the bigger volume of drugs entering the coastal town of Estancia to its geographical location.
It has a 24/7 fishing port and a wharf that hosts vessels from Negros island, Cebu and Masbate.
“It’s a big challenge for us,” he said.
But Martinez vowed to strengthen even further their intelligence operations to catch the suspects.
Meanwhile, the Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) seized a total of P5,032,000 worth of suspected shabu in separate buy-bust operations here on Wednesday and Thursday.
The biggest drug haul was reported at Purok Pilipinhon, Barangay 30 yesterday, with 40-year-old Marlon Pango of Barangay Handumanan yielding 640 grams of suspected shabu worth P4,352,000.
Police Captain Joven Mogato, head of the City Drug Enforcement Unit (CDEU), said Pango was arrested for a drug offense here in 2019 but was later released from jail after his case was dismissed. However, he is not privy to the case and has no idea what caused the dismissal of the case.
Mogato said the suspect has been out of jail for more than a year now.
The operation was conducted after they had verified the information allegedly linking the suspect to a lone drug group operating here.
Mogato said the illegal drugs came outside the region and are not directly being transported here because of the security measures being implemented against it.
He said that drug peddlers would usually use other entry points in Negros Occidental to enable entry of contraband here. But he said the source is still subject to further investigation.
He said the suspect can be considered a “big supplier” of illegal drugs here with the huge volume of the drug recovery.
Police also recovered from the suspect, who is considered a high value individual, the P10,000 marked money, and P500.
Mogato said this is a significant accomplishment of the Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) since the yuletide season is approaching and merry-making or parties are expected next month.
Meanwhile, 42-year-old Rodney Benedicto was arrested by personnel of Police Station 2 at Purok Pilit 2, Barangay 6 last Wednesday following the confiscation of 100 grams of suspected shabu worth P680,000.
Police Captain Glenn Montaño, head of Police Station 2, said the suspect is a newly-identified individual who is under their drugs watchlist, but because of the huge volume of drug recovery, he is already classified as a high value individual.
Montaño said the suspect’s sibling was also arrested for a drug offense in the previous years.
Montaño said that they conducted a two-week monitoring on the suspect as they have monitored him to have been allegedly engaging in the illegal drug trade for about five months now.
Aside from being watch-listed, Montaño said that they have also received information about the suspect’s illegal activity.
He said they are probing the source of the illegal drugs. Police also recovered from him the P14,000 boodle money, and the P1,000 marked money.
Drug charges are being readied against the two suspects who are detained at Police Stations 6 and 2, respectively.
The Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) has confiscated 10 kilos and 492.36 grams of illegal drugs worth P71.3 million since the assumption of Police Colonel Noel Aliño as BCPO director from April 18 to November 18.
Based on the record, 272 operations were conducted and 326 persons were arrested for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.