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NCRPO intesifies drive vs marijuana trafficking

October 26, 2022 Alfred P. Dalizon 248 views

MarijuanaACTING on instructions of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, General Rodolfo S. Azurin Jr., the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) headed by Brigadier Gen. Jonnel C. Estomo has stepped up its efforts to arrest trafficking and distribution of marijuana in Metro Manila.

Last week alone, NCRPO agents seized over 100 kilograms of dried cannabis bricks worth more than P12 million in separate anti-narcotics operations in the metropolis.

Estomo said that during a buy-bust operation at the parking lot of a fast-food chain in Barangay 8, Caloocan City past 9 a.m. last October 19, undercover officers of the Northern Police District (NPD) arrested two ‘high-value individuals’ after they conspired to sell some 100 kilos of the prohibited crops to a poseur.

The suspects identified as John Kenneth Hernay, 30; and Grant Gallano, 24, are facing non-bailable charges for sale and possession of prohibited drugs under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

According to Estomo, members of the NPD Drug Enforcement Unit under Colonel Ponce R. Peñones seized 78 dried marijuana bricks and 22 pieces of elongated plastic acetate each containing a kilo of the same drug and the buy-bust money from the suspects.

Another sting in Manila the following day resulted in the arrest of 23-year-old Bonifacio Taylaran Jr. alias ‘Kuya’ after he sold six kilos of marijuana leaves to an undercover agent along Madre Ignacia Street corner San Andres St. in Malate district.

The suspect yielded six long blocks of dried cannabis leaves, stems and fruiting tops wrapped in transparent plastic and the buy-bust money. A brown Toyota Innova with plate no. NBW-3689 which he used to transport the drugs was also impounded by the MPD Station 9 under Brig. Gen. Andre P. Dizon.

The suspect is also now facing a non-bailable case for sale and possession of illegal drugs.

Estomo commended the NPD and MPD operatives for their latest anti-drug accomplishments.

“These accomplishments reflects our commitment and dedication to suppress the proliferation of illegal drugs in our region,” he said.

“Your police force will remain true to our vow of making our streets safe, where policemen are well appreciated in the maintenance of peace and order, and felt through their extraordinary police service rendered to the people,” he told the public.

Azurin has also ordered all other Police Regional Offices and the different PNP National Operational Support Units led by PNP Drug Enforcement Group headed by Brig. Gen. Narciso D. Domingo to further intensify their efforts to arrest marijuana trafficking and distribution in the country.

The PNP-DEG has been closely partnering with concerned police territorial units, the Armed Forces, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and other law enforcement agencies and local government units in identifying and destroying secret marijuana plantation sites in the country.

Many of these cannabis production sites are located in Mountain Province, Kalinga and Benguet provinces in Cordillera region as well as some areas in Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao.

Early this year, the PDEA headed by its outgoing Director General Wilkins M. Villanueva revealed that marijuana is now the most abused illegal drug in the country, dislodging the erstwhile drug of choice which is shabu, both on the demand and the supply side.

“Marijuana is now the dominant drug in the country,” the PDEA chief said said citing massive volume seizures in 2021 and the survey result of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) in 2019.

“Although shabu is no longer the preferred drug of use, it is still considered a top drug of concern due to its more damaging effect on the minds and lives of its users, and is more profitable to drug players,” Villanueva pointed out.

In 2021, marijuana constituted 83 percent of the reported total bulk weight of drug seizures at 11 tons, with crystal meth or “shabu” coming at far second at 17 percent, PDEA records said.

The DDB likewise reported that marijuana is the most commonly abused dangerous drug at 57 percent followed by shabu at 35 percent.

Villanueva pointed out this may indicate that “interception and enforcement efforts are efficient; and cannabis cultivators and distributors are ramping up their drug trafficking activities to meet surging demand.”

“There is a growing acceptance in the marijuana drug business, and it is prudent to come up with an assessment that the supply is abundant because its demand in the market is high. When the supply is higher, the chances of detection is also higher as manifested by the high-volume marijuana confiscation by authorities,” he added.