INTELLIGENCE information developed by agents of the Regional Special Operations Unit of the National Capital Region Police Office have led to the arrest of a university professor-turned courier of a drug trafficking syndicate consistently smuggling shabu from Quezon City to Cebu City, NCRPO director, Major General Debold M. Sinas announced yesterday.
Around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, members of the NCRPO-RSOG and the Q.C. Police District, in close coordination with officers from the Police Regional Office 7 launched a sting n Barangay Subabasbas in Lapu-Lapu City which led in the arrest of Gilbert Lumanog, a ‘high-value target’ after he delivered some 22.1 kilograms of shabu worth P150.2 million to an undercover agent, said the NCRPO chief.
In a report to Philippine National Police chief, General Camilo Pancratius P. Cascolan, Sinas said that the operation stemmed from an intelligence information from a reliable source which was developed by the NCRPO-RSOG amid their ongoing effort to account for the ‘big fishes’ in the country’s illegal drug industry, alive so they can be subjected to thorough investigation as ordered by Gen. Cascolan.
“It pertained to the information about the consistent transport of around 30 kilos of shabu from Q.C. to Cebu City by land travel on board a black sedan every two weeks,” the official said.
Sinas said the information triggered the launching of the NCRPO Comprehensive Plan: Totong Toldo which involved a series of surveillance and monitoring of the subject.
He said that finding the information to be credible, a team from NCRPO-RSOG last October 12, joined by some QCPD operatives went to Cebu City to conduct further case build-up against the suspect and his cohorts and establish communication with other concerned units.
Sinas said that to avoid a ‘misencounter’ due to failure of communication, his men coordinated their planned operation with the PRO7 Regional Intelligence Division.
Sinas said that last October 14, the undercover team sighted and positively identified the vehicle believed being used in the multi-million drug smuggling: a black Toyota Vios with plate no. YKL-974.
He said that the driver of the vehicle was placed under surveillance with officers discovering he was roaming in different places in Cebu City, Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City.
“ Moreover, it was observed that the car’s rider frequently meets suspicious persons to hand-over paper bags, plastics and other containers of dubious character,” the Metro Manila police director said.
The suspect was finally arrested during the sting. Recovered from his possession were 23 plastic packets with Chinese tea packaging containing a total of 22.1 kilos of the so-called ‘poor man’s cocaine’ and the boodle money topped by several marked bills.
His car was also impounded by the police.
Sinas said that Lumanog was identified as a ‘courier/distributor’ of a drug syndicate whose operators communicate with him via phone call or text messages only.
“We found out that the courier was only being given instruction on where to pick-up and distribute the drugs. Their clients generally comes from the cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu,” he said.
The suspect is now facing non-bailable charges for trafficking and possession of prohibited drugs under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
“We have set our target to neutralize big-time drug syndicates and arrest the big fish behind this illegal drug activities. Statistics have already established the direct relationship of illegal drug trade to the occurrence of crime,” Sinas said.
“The intensification of our campaign against illegal drugs proved to be an effective measure to cause a significant decline in the crime rate of Metro Manila. Hence, I commend the extraordinary effort and dedication to duty shown by the operatives of NCRPO-RSOG, the QCPD and other units concerned in putting this high-value target drug personality behind bars,” said Sinas.
Officers from the PRO7 under Brigadier Gen. Albert Ignatius D. Ferro and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency headed by Director General Wilkins M. Villanueva were also involved in the operation.