AGENTS of the Philippine National Police Drug Enforcement Group on Monday evening arrested three ‘high-value drug targets’ in Metro Manila after they conspired to sell an estimated P7.7 million worth of shabu to an undercover officer in Cainta, Rizal, PNP chief, General Debold M. Sinas announced yesterday.
The top cop identified the arrested suspects as James Conco,19; resident of 32 Jasmin Street in Barangay Concepcion 1, Marikina City; Diana Antonio,19, of 52 Jasmin St. and Richard Arellano alias ‘Lops,’ a 43-year old construction worker from Malanday, Marikina.
According to Sinas, operatives from the PNP-DEG headed by Brigadier Gen. Ronald O. Lee arrested the trio in front of the Goldstar II located along V.V. Soliven II Avenue in Bgy. San Isidro, Cainta 9 p.m. Monday.
Officers from the PNP-DEG Special Operations Unit 4, backed up by members of the Rizal Police Provincial Office and the Cainta Municipal Police Station, conducted the sting which led to the seizure of an estimated 1,130 grams of the so-called ‘poor man’s cocaine’ valued at P7.684 million and the boodle money topped by some marked bills.
The suspects are now being questioned at the PNP-DEG headquarters in Camp Crame. They will be facing non-bailable charges for sale and possession of prohibited drugs under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, said Gen. Sinas.
Brig. Gen. Lee also reported the arrest of a wanted 17-year old drug trafficker in Bacolod City past 4 p.m. Monday.
Lee said the suspect, a resident of Purok Sigay in Bgy. 2, Bacolod City, was arrested on the strength of a warrant of arrest for violation of RA 9165 issued by Judge Maritess Gumahin of the Bacolod City Regional Trial Court Branch 51 last September 24. No bail was recommended for the temporary liberty of the teenager who was tracked down in his hiding place in Purok Tahong, Bgy. 2 by members of the PNP-DEG SOU 7.
The arrest of the four suspects came hours after officers and men of the PNP-DEG based in Camp Crame underwent a surprise drug test as Lee assumed his post and vowed to fully implement the directives of Gen. Sinas.
Lee, a member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Tanglaw-Diwa’ Class of 1992, said the surprise drug test will be a regular activity in the PNP-DEG which is the main police units tasked to go after ‘high-value targets’ in the country.
He replaced Brig. Gen. Armando S. de Leon of PMA ‘Sambisig’ Class of 1991 who has been named as the new PNP Director for Human Resource and Doctrine Development, a position previously occupied by Lee.
Gen. Sinas last week said he will revitalize the different PNP drug enforcement units to focus their campaign on high-value targets/individuals specifically foreign drug manufacturers and smugglers and their local associates.
The 25th PNP chief also vowed to identify and neutralize the remaining ‘ninja/narco cops’ including their associates in the police force.
Gen. Sinas assured that PNP drug enforcement units will have to be manned by personnel with no reported or suspected involvement in illegal drugs to ensure their integrity.
The PNP chief ordered the replacement of police officers and men currently assigned in anti-narcotics units of the police force with ‘appropriately vetted’ policemen.
“We will also fortify the competency of our anti-narcotics agents by equipping them with the right knowledge and skills thru training and giving them the right and proper equipment they need in going after armed and dangerous drug dealers,” said Gen. Sinas.