P5.4-M in ‘shabu’ seized from 5 persons

An agent of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) conducts an inventory on the P5.4-million worth of suspected illegal drugs recovered in simultaneous drug raids on two houses in Barangay Matab-ang, Talisay City, Negros Occidental Thursday. (PDEA photo)

By: Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) – Negros Occidental seized about 800 grams of illegal drugs valued at P5,440,000 in simultaneous drug raids on two houses at Barangay Matab-ang, Talisay City Thursday morning.

PDEA provincial officer Nicolas Gomez, said they raided the house of 57-year-old Rhodora Hamantoc and Mark Line Cuadra, 25, by virtue of search warrants issued both by Judge Estefanio Libutan of Regional Trial Court-Branch 50.

Gomez said operatives seized 650 grams of suspected shabu worth P4,420,000 from Hamantoc, Aul Vincent Suanico, 33, of Pontevedra town; Ellan Vhonie Escober, 19, of Bacolod City; and Robert Discutido, 23, of Talisay City.

Gomez said Suanico, Escober, and Discutido were present at Hamantoc’s house during the raid and were identified as her alleged regular clients in the illegal drug trade.

The three other suspects also allegedly yielded seven sachets of suspected shabu.

Gomez said Hamantoc is a high-value target on the target list of PDEA.

“We’ve been monitoring her for a few months,” he added.

Gomez said PDEA also raided the house of Cuadra and recovered from him 150 grams of suspected shabu worth P1,020,000.

Gomez said Hamantoc and Cuadra are connected in the illegal activity.

Cuadra, a newly-identified drug personality, allegedly sells Hamantoc’s items, he added.

Gomez said they are verifying if he is related to the Cuadras in Bacolod who were also linked to illegal drugs before.

Gomez said the illegal drugs came from Cebu, Manila, or Mindanao.

We are still checking their sources, since they can be considered as “big fish” because of the big drug haul, he said.

The operation was conducted in coordination with the Special Enforcement Unit of PDEA-6 and Talisay City Police Station.

The five suspects will be in the custody of PDEA-6 in Iloilo City after the filing of charges for illegal possession of dangerous drugs on Friday.

There was no resistance on their part but all suspects denied the allegations against them, Gomez said.