BANKING on Facebook messages and the public’s help, agents of the Zambales Police Provincial Office smashed a notorious drug den and arrested a total of 33 lawbreakers in the province, local police director Col. Romano Cardiño yesterday told the Journal Group.
The official said that five of the suspects were arrested in an anti-narcotics operation at the Gomez Compound in Purok 4, Bgy. Sta. Barbara, Iba municipality past 12 a.m. Tuesday.
Cardiño said his men tapped social media, including Facebook, to gather information about the suspects.
First to be arrested was suspect Reynante Patano after he sold P1,000 worth of shabu to an undercover officer.
Cardiño said a follow-up operation resulted in the discovery of the drug dive, where suspects Mark Kevin Calimlim, Romnic Gomez, Arturo Gomez, Primate Sumanpil and Ronielyn Soriano, all residents of Iba, were arrested while engaged in a shabu-sniffing session.
In a report to Police Regional Office 3 director Brig. Gen. Valeriano de Leon, the official said that suspect Patano , a native of Ligao, Albay, is a “high-value target” in Zambales, where he has been identified as a member of the notorious “Buela Drug Group.”
He added that Soriano was previously arrested for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Recovered during the operation were 23 heat-sealed plastic sachets containing an estimated P50,000 worth of the “poor man’s cocaine,” around P3,000 worth of dried marijuana leaves, assorted drug paraphernalia, a marked P1,000 bill received by Patano from the poseur and a caliber .22 rifle.
Cardiño said they have also turned to Facebook and the help of other concerned citizens in tracking down 28 lawbreakers, including 10 most wanted men in Zambales, in a day-long anti-criminality operation last Monday.
Apart from the 10 wanted persons, 13 others were jailed for their involvement in illegal drug trafficking, three for illegal gambling and two for illegal logging activities.