Who would have thought that detained drug personalities could still thrive in their trade of dealing shabu, even behind bars?
Jail guards and joint police operatives who stormed the Bohol District Jail (BDJ) in an early dawn raid on Wednesday were left puzzled and clueless after their surprise inspection into the jail cells did not yield any shabu, contrary to what a tipster had disclosed to the authorities.
While P/SInsp. JojitMananquil, who led “Operation Greyhound” at the detention facility, suspects that someone may have tipped off BDJ inmates of the impending raid, a former inmate reveals that shabu is discreetly smuggled in and then traded out of the prison in broad daylight, in front of unsuspecting jail guards.
“It happens practically every day,” the former detainee said.
Shabu is being traded by so-called “controllers” from inside the prison facility using tennis balls, according to the former inmate who squealed on the modus operandi of the so-called drug lords inside the BDJ.
The revelation came on the heels of public disbelief after three consecutive “greyhound inspections” in recent months which all ended up with the raiding team coming empty handed, except for the seizure of several bladed weapons, cellular phones and wads of cash.
The former BDJ inmate bared that the tennis ball modus has been used for quite some time now and it has never been detected nor busted.
Accordingly, tennis balls are common at the detention facility since inmates are allowed to play tennis in the multi-purpose court where ball games are being played during their recreational period.
The source said tennis balls are slit just a few inches, enough to insert cellophane sachets containing shabu. The balls are then glued back to seal the illegal substance already stuffed inside.
Cellphones play an important role in the drug transactions since delivery and payment information is instantly relayed via text messages with outside contacts. Payment transactions usually go through express money transfer services of pawnshops.
This modus has been employed by incarcerated drug dealers since most of them have not lost contact with their suppliers who still rely on their established networks of so-called “liners” and “pushers” who could distribute the illegal drug.
The source said that supply of the substance is smuggled into the jail facility by an outside contact who gets close on the outer side of the BDJ’s perimeter fence and tosses the ball in the direction of the playground at a pre-agreed time of the day that was fixed beforehand via text messages.
An inmate who pretends to play a tennis match gets the ball coming from the outside.
The inmate who now has a stash of the substance will then divide it into his “liners” whom he will contact by simply sending text messages.
Once arrangements are made for the liner, the inmate will again pretend to play a tennis match. Purposely lobbing the ball stuffed with shabu to go over the prison’s wall. The ball will be picked up by the liner who is already hanging around outside the jail’s perimeter fence.
Liners and street-level pushers remit their payments through pawnshops with express money transfers. The same procedure is followed by the inmate who asks his outside contact to deposit the money to a numbered account of the supplier.
However, there are also instances that payments are also made by stuffing money bills into the tennis balls, according to the former inmate.
“Tennis balls, cell phones and pawnshops are all part of the scheme of how shabu is smuggled in and out of jail in broad daylight and even in front of unsuspecting jail guards. That way, known drug dealers who are in prison still practically control the distribution of shabu from behind bars,” he said.
Authorities of the BDJ have implemented stringent policies for visitations of inmates. In fact, visitors at the BDJ are subjected not just to plain and simple body-searches but sometimes to strip-searches.
Early dawn on Wednesday, around 150 operatives of the Bohol Provincial Police Office searched all 25 jail cells of the BDJ in a surprise inspection launched after authorities received a tip on a large drug stash inside the facility.
Information acquired by authorities indicated that two kilos of shabu were kept inside the jail prompting police to carry out the greyhound operation, said BDJ warden Chief Insp. Felipe Montejo.
The allegation also pinpointed BDJ as one of the sources of illegal drug supply in the province.
However, no illegal drugs were found inside the facility.
The raid led by various police departments under Supt. Rene Kyamko and S/Insp. Mananquil instead yielded cellphones and bladed weapons.
Pieces of drug paraphernalia were also found inside the BDJ.
For his part, Provincial Board (PB) Member Ricky Masamayor, who witnessed the operation, said that the detainees may have been tipped off on the operation.
According to Masamayor, chair of the PB’s committee on peace and order, one of the confiscated cellphones contained a message alerting one of the inmates of the surprise inspection.
“Bantay kay naay mag swat diha,” the text message reportedly reads.
The message, however, was received at around 4:20 a.m., already 20 minutes after the police search operation started at 4:00 a.m.
Masamayor did not disclose the cellphone owner’s identity as an investigation will still be conducted regarding the text message.
Meanwhile, Montejo noted that the reports on the presence of shabu inside the BDJ are untrue as police who scoured the facility for contraband would have found the said illegal drugs.
The involved detainees would not have been able to dispose of the drugs as the text message alerting them of the raid was received minutes after the operation started, he said.
On August 9, 2017, another surprise raid at the BDJ yielded wads of cash amounting to P69,000 from an inmate.
According to Montejo, the money was found in the possession of Ginomar Pelayre who is being held on a drug charge.
Other contrabands such as improvised bladed weapons were also found in other detainees’ cells during the said surprise inspection.
Pelayre’s cash is the second seizure of bundles of money from a detainee of the BDJ.
On May 24, Special Weapons and Tactics police operatives were also able to confiscate P29,000 from Cristopher Buslon, the alleged “chief expediter,” or ranking inmate, in the entire detention facility.
However, the confiscated cash was returned after it was proven that Buslon who is facing a double murder charge earned it by selling food and soft drinks to other detainees, said Montejo. (With reports from Allen Doydora)