COMBINED agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) have stepped up their crackdown against members of West African Drug Syndicates in the country which have gained notoriety for their involvement in the trafficking of cocaine and shabu with the help of their local contacts.
Over a dozen members of the drug ring, mostly Nigerian nationals, have been put to jail in the past by the PNP headed by General Debold M. Sinas and the PDEA headed by Director General Wilkins M. Villanueva in line with their war on drugs since last year.
In many cases, these West African nationals have used their poor Filipina girlfriends and other Filipino contacts to traffic drugs in Metro Manila and the provinces.
The PDEA has been joined by the PNP Drug Enforcement Group headed by Brigadier Gen. Ronald O. Lee and the 17 Police Regional Offices in the campaign against the foreign drug personalities on orders of Sinas.
The other Monday, three Nigerian nationals said to be involved in big-time drug trafficking activities in Calabarzon were arrested by combined operatives of the PDEA and the Cavite Police Provincial Office during two separate anti-narcotics operations in General Trias City.
Seized from the suspects were around P10.8 million worth of shabu and dried marijuana leaves, said Villanueva.
The PDEA chief said two of the suspects identified as Benjamin Ebubechukwum Enemuo, 28, and Chidubem Precious Nwonu, 22, were arrested during a sting at Lot Black 1 Alden Street, Kensington Phase 17, Lancaster New City, Bgy. Navarro, General Trias City.
Recovered from the duo were at least a kilo of shabu worth P6.8 million and the buy-bust money.
The 3rd suspect identified as Ifeanyi Chiales Ofoma was arrested in an entrapment operation on Block 26, Lot 17, Kensington Phase 22 in nearby Bgy. Bacao.
The suspect yielded some five kilograms of dried marijuana leaves valued at P600,000, around 500 grams of the so-called ‘poor man’s cocaine’ worth P3.4 million, a digital weighing scale and the marked money paid to him by an undercover officer.
Villanueva said undercover officers of the PDEA Regional Offices 4-A and 1 and the General Trias City Police Station were involved in the successful anti-drug operations triggered by complaints from local residents regarding the suspected illegal drug activities of the three West African nationals.
Villanueva said the three are facing non-bailable charges for sale and possession of prohibited drugs under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Last January 11, agents of the PNP-DEG gunned down an East African national-turned big-time drug trafficker in the country following a shootout inside a budget hotel in Pasig City which marred the conduct of a buy-bust operation, Sinas said.
According to the PNP chief, suspect Emmanuel Christopher Chukwuma, a native of Uganda, had just sold two kilos of shabu worth P13.6 million to an undercover officer of the PNP-DEG when he noticed the ongoing entrapment operation and tried to grab the concealed pistol of the poseur.
“A back-up operative was forced to fire a shot at the African national as he was about to overpower the undercover officer,” said Sinas.
The sting occurred inside Room No. 16 of the Mariposa Budget Hotel located on Escarpment Road in Bgy. Bagong Ilog, Pasig City and involved members of the PNP-DEG Special Operations Unit, the National Capital Region Police Office’s (NCRPO) Special Operations Group, PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group and the Pasig City Police Station.
Lee said that recovered from the possession of the slain suspect were some two kilos of the so-called ‘poor man’s cocaine’ with a market value of P13.6 million, the boodle money topped by a marked P1,000 bill and a caliber .45 pistol with a magazine containing seven live ammunition.
The suspect’s black Toyota Fortuner with plate no. CAS-1265 was impounded by the PNP-DEG.
Lee described the Ugandan national as a member of a West African Drug Syndicate (WADS) involved in the trafficking of shabu and cocaine in the country where they have gained notoriety for luring impoverished Filipinos to become their drug ‘mules’ of human carriers.
The official said they have established that the suspect is associated with WADS members Kingsley Iwumune who was arrested in a sting along Gatchalian Avenue in Bgy. Manuyo Dos, Las Piñas City and Gabriel Onyechefula, a Nigerian national who died in a shootout with PNP-DEG agents in Bgy. Jefmin in Concepcion, Tarlac on New Year’s Eve.
Sinas said they are currently hot on the trail of remaining members of the WADS in the country amid their ongoing war on drugs.
“Our campaign against illegal drugs is so serious that we have been connecting the dots to establish links of the drug syndicates so that we could burn their illegal plans outright,” said Sinas as he commended agents of the PNP-DEG for their string of successful operations against ‘high-value targets’ in the country.
According to Sinas, undercover officers of the PNP-DEG were about to arrest suspect Gabriel Onyechefula after he sold the drugs at the parking lot of a videoke bar in Bgy. Jefmin, Concepcion at 1 a.m. last December 31 when the African national pulled out a machine pistol and tried to shoot the poseur prompting back-up officers to return fire.
The suspect suffered a gunshot wound in the abdomen and died on the spot. Recovered from his possession were three knot-tied plastic bags containing two kilos of the prohibited drugs worth P13.6 million, the boodle money topped by two marked P1,000 bills and a caliber 9mm machine pistol with a magazine containing several live ammunition.