PRO-6 probes syndicate behind major drug hauls

By Jennifer P. Rendon

Are new groups orchestrating the illegal drug trade in Western Visayas?

The Police Regional Office (PRO) 6 is investigating the possibility that a new syndicate is operating in Western Visayas, particularly in the city and province of Iloilo.

Brigadier General Jack Wanky, Western Visayas police chief, said they are regularly conducting intelligence fusion with other members of the intel community.

“That’s why one of my instructions to our R2 (Regional Intelligence Division) is to explore the possibility if these newly-identified drug personalities are connected to a syndicated group or if they operate independently,” he said.

Wanky noted that the R2, currently headed by Colonel Giovanni Musico, has yet to submit the results of the validation.

So far, no names have emerged in the latest regular fusion, he added. However, “we noticed that even newly-identified drug personalities are being caught with substantial amounts. That’s why there might be a possibility that they are operating within a group,” he said.

Recently, at least thirty drug personalities have been arrested with a significant volume of illegal drugs.

But during debriefing, “they are not cooperative. It’s quite challenging. They mostly have their legal counsels handle the discussions,” Wanky said.

Previously, arrested drug personalities were cooperative in revealing their contacts and allies.

“It’s not far-fetched that someone might be directing them,” Wanky added.

A report from two years ago identified at least three criminal groups operating in Western Visayas, all based in Negros Occidental, including Bacolod City.

For a group to be considered a drug syndicate, it must pass validation by the Regional Police Intelligence Committee.

Meanwhile, PRO-6 records show that different police units in the region conducted 176 operations from June 1 to 22. These led to the arrest of 237 persons and the recovery of approximately 4,484 grams of shabu valued at P30.49 million.

The Regional Police Drug Enforcement Unit (RPDEU) 6 logged the highest amount of confiscated drugs at P9 million, while Negros Occidental registered the most arrests at 97 persons.