By Jennifer P. Rendon
In less than an hour, two anti-narcotics operations were conducted in Iloilo City that led to the recovery of more than P2 million worth of shabu.
The drug busts resulted in the arrest of Teresa Pagunalin and Rey Hermano; and live-in couple Miriam Abilo and Gerry Pirecano.
Abilo, 42, and Pirecano, 45, are residents at Sampaguita Street, Barangay Veterans Village, City Proper, Iloilo City. They were arrested at their home around 7:35 p.m. on Feb. 5.
Members of the Iloilo City Police Station 1 spearheaded the operation, along with personnel from the Police Office-City Drug Enforcement Unit (ICPO-CDEU), ICPO Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team, Iloilo City Mobile Force Company and PNP Drug Enforcement Unit-Special Operations Unit 6.
The duo allegedly conspired in selling a sachet of suspected shabu worth P15,000.
Arresting police operatives also seized from them eight more sachets of suspected shabu and several non-drug items.
Captain Roque Gimeno III, ICPS1 chief, said the seized drugs weighed around 93 grams with a standard value of P632,000.
Gimeno said that Abilo, the main target of the operation, is on the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC) list of illegal drug personalities.
Up until Monday, both Abilo and Pirecano, a native of Gen. Santos City, were never arrested for drug-related charges.
Meanwhile, Pagunalin, 57, of Zone 4, Barangay San Juan, Molo, and Hermano, 57, of Barangay M. H. del Pilar, Jaro, were arrested in a police operation at the former’s house around 8:20 p.m.
Members of ICPO-CDEU, together with ICPS4, Regional Police Drug Enforcement Unit (RPDEU) 6, Coast Guard District Western Visayas (CGDWV)-Intelligence Group and Regional Maritime Unit (RMU) 6, collared the couple after they sold a sachet of suspected shabu for P16,000.
Following their arrest, police seized 26 more sachets of suspected shabu and several non-drug items.
Lieutenant Colonel Antonio Benitez Jr., CDEU chief, said the seized drugs weighed around 224 grams and were valued at P1,530,000.
Benitez said the woman was also the target of their operation.
The police did not know about Pagunalin and Hermano’s romantic links until their arrest.
Pagunalin has children from a previous relationship shop while Hermano is still living with his wife and children.
While they denied using illegal drugs, they did not rebuff their alleged drug trade involvement.
This is also their first time to be arrested for illegal drug trading.
All four suspects are now detained and will be charged with violation of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002).