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Online ring selling fake COVID test kits busted

August 18, 2021 Alfred P. Dalizon 721 views

A COMPANY owner and three of his employees accused of involvement in the illegal online sale of COVID-19 test kits in Metro Manila were arrested by agents of the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) in an entrapment operation in Pasig City on Tuesday afternoon.

Recovered from the suspects were around P4.5 million worth of tunauthorized saliva test kits, PNP-CIDG director, Major General Albert Ignatius D. Ferro said in a report to PNP chief, General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar.

Arrested during the sting on 4 Sta. Clara Street, Barangay Kapitolyo, Pasig City around 12:50 pm. Tuesday were Paul Henry Ferras, the 55-year old owner of Celltech Applied Sciences, Inc.; company marketing officers Agrifino Lozanta,34; and Patrick Henry Caro,27; and warehouseman Paul Ryan Matillano,23,.

Undercover officers of the CIDG Quezon City District Field Unit placed the suspects led by Ferraz, a resident of One Eastwood Avenue under surveillance amid reports they were involved in the illegal sale and distribution of COVID-19 Rapid Test Kits.

With the assistance of operatives from the Philippine Air Force’s 300th Air Intelligence Service Wing and the Pasig City Police Station, Ferro’s men launched the entrapment operation after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) certified that the suspects were not authorized to engage in the online sale of the rapid test kits.

Ferro said that on Tuesday, an undercover officer made an online transaction with the suspects and ordered 130 boxes of Kunsong Colloidal Gold COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test Kits.

He said the suspects were arrested after they conspired to receive P494,000 in boodle money topped by a marked P1,000 bill from the poseur in exchange for the rapid test kits.

All four were placed under arrest after they failed to show their License to Operate or Special Permit from the FDA to sell and distribute the test kits under FDA Circular No. 2020-016.

Ferro said that initially recovered from the possession of the suspects during the sting were the boodle money, 60 boxes of Kunsong Antigen Rapid Test Kits each containing 20 kits, 15 boxes of the same test kits each containing 10 saliva test kits, one delivery receipt for P494,000 under the name of Celltech Applied Sciences, Inc. issued under the name of one ‘Francis Malabute,’ a laptop, an inventory book and the company identification cards of the accused.

He added that officers also saw 20 more big Kunsong boxes found with 20 small boxes each containing 20 saliva test kits valued at P4,560,000.

Ferro said that prior to the entrapment operation, the suspects have been identified as members of a group involved in the illegal online selling of unauthorized COVID-19 RT-PCR test kits and were reported to the CIDG National Capital Region District Unit last March.

The suspects are now undergoing questioning at the Q.C. CIDG Field Office. They will be facing charges for violation of Republic Act 971 or the FDA Law in relation to FDA Circular 2020-016.