After Bohol District Jail (BDJ) guards seized 93 dried tobacco leaves—worth around P55,000 inside the facility—last week, 126 pieces more of the contraband were seized at another detention center in the province Friday.
Tagbilaran City Jail (TCJ) warden Mark Anthony Omega told dyRD Balita that the dried tobacco leaves were found at around 5 p.m. hidden between two pieces of plywood to be used supposedly for repairs at an outhouse inside the jail.
According to Omega, the pieces of contraband concealed between the construction materials were delivered to the facility by a visitor on orders of a TCJ detainee who claimed to be carrying out repairs inside the facility.
As the pieces of wood were about to be taken inside the jail’s gate, guards noticed that the materials had contents between them prompting the suspect who brought the items to immediately flee and escape, Omega said.
The suspect was able to evade arrest while authorities did not get his identity as he was not able to enter the facility.
Guards then examined the pieces of plywood and found the large stash of dried tobacco leaves.
According to Omega, a sanction will be meted out against the detainee who had the construction materials delivered to the facility.
The TCJ warden, however, did not disclose the detainee’s identity as the jail’s disciplinary board is set to conduct further investigation on the case.
Due to the amount of the pieces of contraband, authorities believe that these were meant for sale inside the jail and not just for personal consumption.
Tobacco leaves are sold inside Bohol’s detention centers at P500 to P600 based on previously gathered information.
Omega admitted that there have been previous instances wherein tobacco leaves, which are considered “nuisance contraband,” have made it into the TCJ, but said that it was the first time that over 100 pieces of the item were almost smuggled into the facility.
Omega, however, claimed that since he took over as TCJ warden no illegal drugs have made it into the jail.
On Wednesday, a 17-year-old was caught by a jail guard as the suspect attempted to sneak in a “bulto” of shabu hidden in a box of soap which was intended for TCJ detainee Marlon Tampos who is being held for drug charges.
While at the BDJ, jail guards on Sunday seized 50 packs of cigarettes and 93 dried tobacco leaves which were supposed to be smuggled into the facility through a plastic box of biscuits.
The cigarettes and leaves were brought by Fr. James Darunday, BDJ resident chaplain, to the jail, but he told authorities that he had no knowledge of the box’s real contents as the pieces of contraband were hidden beneath a few biscuits.
Darunday also explained to jail officials that he brought the plastic container as favor to a wife of a detainee at the BDJ where he regularly officiated Mass.
The contraband were found after Darunday asked jail guards to inspect the box of biscuits. (Allen Doydora)