THE stepped to war on drugs by the Cordillera Police Regional Office in 2021 resulted in the arrest of 541 wanted drug traffickers and the seizure of nearly P1.6 billion worth of marijuana leaves and shabu, regional police director, Brigadier General Ronald O. Lee told People’s Tonight.
“The arrests and drug confiscation were made in line with our intensified crackdown against illegal drug trafficking and abuse in the entire region. Expect more successful anti-drug raids and arrests this year as we implement the order of Philippine National Police chief, General Dionardo B. Carlos to go all-out against drugs,” said Brig. Gen. Lee.
The official said that on record, they confiscated a total of ₱1,578 billion worth of prohibited drugs, majority of them fully-grown marijuana plants, seedlings and leaves which were all burned on site.
He added that records from the Cordillera Regional Operations Management Division showed that from January 1 to last December 31, 2021, the regional police force conducted 621 anti-illegal drug operations including buy-bust operations, anti-narcotics raids, marijuana eradication, implementation of search warrants, service of warrants of arrest and checkpoints and interdiction operations.
The operations resulted in the arrest of 541 drug personalities including 242 in Baguio City; 126 in Benguet, 85 in Kalinga, 42 in Mountain Province, 39 in Abra, 5 in Ifugao and 2 in Apayao province.
Lee said the past year saw the conduct of marijuana eradication operations which led in the uprooting and destruction of more than five million pieces of fully-grown marijuana plants and nearly 4.6 tons of dried cannabis plants.
The prohibited crops were burned on site after samples were taken for evidentiary purpose.
Lee supervised the conduct of the Cordillera police force’s Oplan: Herodotus which referred to the conduct of simultaneous marijuana eradication operations in Benguet, Kalinga, and Mountain Province.
Those operations resulted in the destruction of 72 secret marijuana plantation sites. A number of identified maintainers of the raided cannabis plantations have been charged in court for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
“Ang utos ko, maliliit pa lang ang mga marijuana eh sirain na para hindi na lalaki pa at mawala na rin ang pagkakataon na maibenta pa sa baba,” Brig. Gen. Lee said.
This week alone, over P800,000 worth of fully-grown marijuana plants were uprooted and burned by local policemen in Barangays Tacadang in Kibungan and in Bgy. Poblacion in Bakun, Benguet province.
Lee also reported the arrest of three identified drug personalities in the region: Rey Changrapen,30; and Virgilio Apalla,41; and his younger brother Leonard,33, in separate buy-bust operations.
Recovered from the suspects were an estimated P4,500 worth of shabu and the marked money they received from undercover officers.
The official has ordered concerned Cordillera police provincial offices to fully coordinate with the Regional Explosives and Canine Unit their operations to prevent marijuana smuggling in the region thru the random deployment of Narcotics Detection Dogs.
The operations have led in the foiling of several attempts by drug syndicates to smuggle multi-million peso worth of dried marijuana bricks to Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Calabarzon regions from Benguet, Kalinga and Mountain Province.
Cordillera policemen last year also caused the surrender of 25 known drug users in the region who are now undergoing treatment. A total of 277 Persons Who Used Drugs in the region have already completed their community-based recovery and wellness program under the supervision of the local police and government units and agencies.