P18-M worth of shabu being shipped to Bacolod seized

Two drug couriers were arrested and more or less one kilo of suspected “shabu” or methamphetamine hydrochloride with an estimated street value of P18 million was seized from them in Dumangas, Iloilo, Sunday night.

The suspects’ cohort in Bacolod City was also arrested in a follow-up operation yesterday morning.

Joint elements of the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) together with the Negros Occidental PPO, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Western Visayas and Dumangas Sub-Station of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) conducted a buy-bust operation against Jose Alberto Pinaga, 32 and his live-in partner Maebelle Belmonte, 30, both residents of Barangay Mabulac, Silay City, Negros Occidental around 8:30 p.m. Sunday.

Aside from the one kilo of shabu, other items recovered from the two were P50,000 buy-bust money, small sachets of shabu and cellular phones.

Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) Regional Director Chief Superintendent Cesar Hawthorne Binag commended the operatives for the successful arrest of the suspects and seizure of a huge of volume of illegal drugs.

“I would like to note the enthusiasm and eagerness to work of our operatives especially our policemen after they were back to their crucial role in eliminating illegal drugs,” he said.

IPPO director Senior Supt. Marlon Tayaba said the suspects allegedly sourced the illegal drugs from Luzon.

He said that suspects were on board a white pick-up vehicle and were supposedly bound for Negros Occidental via roll-on roll-off vessel when they were collared within the vicinity of the port.

He noted that the K9 dog of the Coast Guard really helped detect the illegal drugs during their operations.

Tayaba said that the suspects revealed that they came from Batangas Port and have already passed by the ports of Mindoro and Caticlan in Aklan province.

Tayaba said that the suspects also divulged the identity of their contact in Negros Occidental.


A follow-up operation was conducted by the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (NOPPO) yesterday morning in Barangay Mandalagan, Bacolod City that led to the arrest of Corazon Vergel, a senior citizen, from whom they recovered 15 grams of suspected shabu with an estimated street value of P180,000.

Tayaba also said that the suspects admitted that it was their third time to carry the same volume of illegal drugs from Luzon to Negros Occidental.

The suspects also revealed the specific area where they sourced the illegal drugs and to what drug group they were connected but he hesitated to discuss further information as investigation is still going on.

Binag stressed that the decrease in the supply of illegal drugs in Negros Occidental is the main impact of the arrest of the two drug couriers.

PCG-Iloilo commander Lt. Ramil Palabrica assured that they will further strengthen their efforts to secure the ports of the province from entry of illegal drugs.

He said that K9 dogs will always be deployed to detect illegal drugs from the passengers.

The arrested suspects are facing charges for violations of sections 5, 6 and 26 of the Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.* (Cindy Ferrer/Edith Colmo)


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