COMBINED agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Philippine National Police early yesterday morning arrested a 44-year-old British national and his Filipina live-in partner for operating a Kush growing facility in Subic, Zambales.
Simon Stuart Mclaren Watson and Rizza Fernandez, 28, were arrested in a buy-bust operation in their rented house at Blk. 13, Lot 4, Magdalena Homes, Subic, Zambales.
PDEA 3 regional director attorney Gil Pabilona said that the suspects were put under surveillance for a month after concerned citizens informed PDEA the house was being used to sell illegal drugs to foreigners.
Members of the PDEA Regional Office 3, the Police Regional Office 3 Regional Drug Enforcement Unit under Chief Supt. Joel Napoleon Coronel, local and barangay officials jointly conducted the buy-bust.
Watson allowed an under-cover agent to enter the house, where the selling of Kush was made. After the transaction, operatives immediately placed the suspects under arrest.
Zambales Provincial Police Office director Sr. Supt. Felix Verbo Jr. said authorities discovered more than 70 marijuana plants weighing over 10 kilos planted in pots in the two bedrooms of the house. He said the seized cannabis was worth around P5 million.
Also seized were various equipment and tools being used to manufacture the high-grade marijuana crop.
Fernandez denied using marijuana. However, she alleged that the illegal plants were for personal use of Watson to cure his asthma and spine injury.
PDEA chair Director General Aaron Aquino said the arrested suspects face charges for engaging in the production, cultivation, manufacture and sale of dangerous drugs under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
The offenses carry the penalty of life imprisonment and a fine ranging from P500,000 to P10 million upon conviction by court.
The law also says that the land or greenhouses on which plants classified as dangerous drugs are being cultivated or cultured will be confiscated and escheated in favor of the government unless the owner can prove lack of knowledge of the cultivation.
Kush is a much powerful derivative of marijuana. It originated from landrace plants mainly in Afghanistan, Northern Pakistan and North-Western India, with the name coming from the Hindu Kush mountain range.
The drug is being smuggled in the Philippines, where syndicates grow them.
Last October, PDEA agents arrested a couple in Muntinlupa City, who yielded some P7.2 million worth of Kush.