NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) will dig deeper into the alleged transactional marketing of shabu done by inmates who are “safely” operating inside their detention centers using cellular phones.
PNP Prov’l Director Lorenzo Batuan told the Chronicle that the latest haul of P8.5 million shabu was traced to a transaction with an inmate detained in Abuyog Leyte jail.
These inmates are drug personalities who are either serving their jail sentences or still awaiting for the promulgation of their cases.
“They have the contacts of the big-time suppliers, mostly from Manila or Ozamis, thus transactions are done through these inmates who are serving jail terms, Col. Batuan said.
Police and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) operatives seized on Wednesday night shabu worth P8.5 million, the largest single-operation drug haul in Bohol since 2020.
The illegal drugs were confiscated from a man identified as John Albert Iter during a buy-bust operation along the Circumferential Road in Barangay Poblacion in Dauis town at past 6 p.m.
According to Lt. Thomas Zen Cheung, chief of the Dauis Police Station, Iter sold shabu worth P50,000 to a poseur-buyer leading to his immediate arrest.
He said the shabu which was wrapped inside a tea bag with Chinese markings was found inside the utility box of Iter’s motorcycle.
The seized drugs weighed over 1.2 kilos and were estimated to cost P6,700 per gram.
Governor Aris Aumentado and Dauis Mayor Roman Bullen arrived at the operation site following the arrest and congratulated both the Bohol Provincial Police Office and PDEA.
The shabu seized from Iter was the largest drug haul seized since Aumentado took over as governor in July last year.
According to Cheung, the arrest resulted from their interrogation of previously arrested drug suspects.
He noted that Iter is a newly identified drug personality who only became known to authorities recently.
“Newly identified ni siya unya nadevelop ra namo throughout sa mga operations namo. Daghan na to og operation prior ani. Actually, naka konekta ra ni sila og usa ka linya and that led to the arrest of this suspect,” he said.
Cheung refused to divulge information on the possible source of the illegal drugs pending follow-up operations to be conducted to identify and arrest Iter’s suppliers.
“Kaning atoang nadakpan karon resulta ni series of operations. Pero dili pa nato ma divulge ang source kay naa pa man tay mga followup operations,” said Cheung.
On Tuesday night, police in Dauis arrested Falcris Felcris Vaño, a 26-year-old resident of the town, who was caught in possession of shabu worth P1.7 million.
The safest way the supply of shabu reaches the province is through transactions in mid-sea where pump boats crisscross the sea while couriers of shabu will arrive in Mainland Bohol without passing through the ports or the airports, according to Col. Batuan.
The most likely possibility is that the supplies and orders of shabu are already done days before the transshipment at mid-sea can be performed
ANTI-DRUG TEAM REVAMPED
The successive arrest of drug personalities came after Bohol PN Chief Batuan effected a major revamp of his team which was tasked to combat drug addiction.
He said there were personnel in the campaign against drugs whom he transferred for other assignments here. However, he declined to elaborate nor identify who were affected by the transfer after the evaluation of their performances.
“I can now work well with my trusted men who were given new assignments in the fight against drug addiction,” Col. Batuan said.
REWARD FOR FINDERS
Gov. Aumentado bared that the provincial government will give cash rewards to those who can provide accurate information leading to the arrest of illegal drug peddlers.
The offer came after the seizure of P8.5 million (1.25 kilos) worth of alleged shabu and the arrest of the suspect identified as one John Albert Quiza Iter, alias John-john, 27, married, fighting cock handler and resident of purok 4, Barangay Dao, Tagbilaran City, according to police spot report. The suspect was apprehended in a buy-bust in Poblacion, Dauis town, PLT Thomas Zen Cheung, an officer in charge of Dauis police station said.
The governor along with Dauis Mayor Roman Bullen and police provincial director Col. Lorenzo Batuan witnessed the inventory of the illegal drugs after the buy-bust operation.
The suspect is facing charges for violation of sections 5 and 11, article II of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act or R. A. 9165.
The seized drugs were placed inside the Chinese tea bags allegedly by the suspect, who was believed to be a courier.
Just days before the recent drug haul, suspected shabu worth to be over P1.7 million (260 grams) were seized from one suspect during a buy-bust operation in Dauis town on Tuesday night (Jan. 24), the Dauis Police Station said.
The suspect identified considered as a high-value target as Filcris Ocno Vaño, 26, a resident of Barangay Totolan, Dauis, on January 24, 2023, at past 9:30 p. m.
Police said Vaño was a regional high-value individual.
Aside from 260 grams of shabu worth P1,768,000 packed in sealed transparent plastic sachets, authorities also confiscated a P20,000 buy-bust money bundled.
The governor also said that the province will procure sniffing dogs for illegal drug checks considering that a lot of vehicles coming from other provinces are entering Bohol soil. These vehicles are not properly checked up when they arrived here, he said.
He said he ordered the police and the Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA) not to let their guard down in the drive against illegal activities and drugs.
Mayor Bullen told the media that the proliferation of illegal drugs in Dauis town is alarming and expressed appreciation to the police for doing their job.
Col. Batuan said in a separate media interview that “ninja cops,” who are believed to be protecting and conniving with the drug peddlers are no longer in the province when asked by the governor.