CONGRATULATIONS are in order for agents of the National Capital Region Police Office and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency who on Thursday proved anew how valuable tips from citizens are when it comes to fighting illegal drug trafficking and abuse in our country.
The successful operation of the NCRPO headed by Major General Vic Danao prompted Philippine National Police chief, Gen. Gilor Eleazar to order an investigation into the possibility that some illegal drug syndicates may have shifted their operations to setting up and cultivating marijuana plants in condominiums in Metro Manila and other urban areas.
The 26th PNP chief, now very busy supervising the PNP’s war on drugs, criminality, terrorism and corruption expressed belief that the series of successful anti-narcotics operations by the PNP and the PDEA headed by Director General Wilkins Villanueva this year have greatly reduced the shabu supply in the country and could have caused the shift.
He was referring to the NCRPO’s discovery of a marijuana farm inside a condominium unit in Taguig City where undercover agents confiscated potted marijuana plants worth at least P2.2 million and arrested the prohibited crops’ cultivators: a United States Air Force serviceman and his Filipina live-in partner.
“We need to intensify our intelligence gathering kung ganito na ba ang style ngayon ng mga sindikato ng droga, lalo na sa marijuana. Posibleng may iba na ring gumagawa nito dahil mahirap mahuli kung ganitong nasa loob ng condominium,” Gen. Eleazar said.
According to the top cop, he has ordered an unrelenting police operation against illegal drug rings including those involved in the production and trafficking of marijuana plants and Kush which is a high-grade marijuana derivative amid findings by the PNP that there has been an increased demand for cannabis in the country.
“Our PDEA chief, Director General Wilkins Villanueva, also said last year that shabu users have shifted to marijuana and even ecstasy due to our intensified operations na rin. Kaya nga po nagfocus rin tayo sa pagpipigil nito at talagang tuloy-tuloy ang operasyon natin dito.
“Huwag pakasiguro ang mga grupo na ‘yan dahil kayang-kaya naming silang sabayan kahit pa high-tech ang kanilang operation,” noted Gen. Eleazar.
As of press time, NCRPO investigators are determining if the arrested suspects behind the marijuana farm were members of a bigger drug syndicate. “That will be part of our investigation. Isa sa mga suspeks natin ay retired US airman at iyong isa naman ay kanyang live-in partner. We will check if they are connected to other drug groups,” said Gen. Eleazar.
I learned that the NCRPO-led anti-narcotics operation in Taguig City on Thursday resulted in the arrest of Raul Antonio Cisneros, a 36-year old Spanish-American citizen from Queens Village New York and her Filipina live-in partner Melijie Maquiling,28, for maintaining a secret marijuana ‘greenhouse.’
Danao said that the sting at no. 411 Kamala building of the Royal Palm Residence Acacia Estates in Barangay Ususan, Taguig City 2:30 p.m. Thursday led in the seizure of an estimated P2.2 million worth of Kush which is a high-grade marijuana derivative and about P95,000 worth of shabu.
The official said that members of the NCRPO Regional Intelligence Division and Regional Special Operations Group, with the assistance of the Taytay Municipal Police Station, the Taguig City Police Station and the PDEA conducted the buy-bust operation.
“The entrapment operation was triggered by an information from one of our informants regarding the illegal cultivation of cannabis by the suspects. After a week-long surveillance, our officers discovered that the suspects indeed were utilizing their place as a marijuana/kush ‘greenhouse,” said Danao.
It turned out that Cisneros, a retired member of the U.S. Air Force was previously arrested by members of the Taguig City police for sale and possession of prohibited drugs on July 20, 2019. He was charged for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. How was he able to gain freedom and turn to marijuana growing is now the subject of an NCRPO investigation.
I was told that the two suspects were arrested the suspects after they conspired to sell P5,000 worth of Kush to a poseur. Initially seized from the suspects were three heat-sealed plastic sachets containing the drugs and the marked money.
A search of the suspects’ condominium unit led in the discovery of eight pots containing an estimated 4-month old marijuana plants; 42 pots with 3-month old marijuana; 33 pots with month-old cannabis, 54 pots of 2-week old marijuana and several apparatus and paraphernalia being used to grow the prohibited crops.
According to Danao, they have found out that the suspects who have numerous connections have managed to supply a number of drug dealers in Makati and Taguig cities and in other parts of Calabarzon region.
Officers and men involved in the Taguig City operation are set to get their due reward from the PNP leadership. Thru this column, I would like to appeal again to all law-abiding Filipinos to be alert and always be ready to report illegal drug activities taking place in your neighbor’s house. Always be on the lookout for tell-tale signs of illegal drug activities which may be happening just a stone’s throw-away from your home.
Just imagine what will happen to us, our family, relatives, friends and the community we live in if we will allow our supposed-to-be friendly neighbors to raise marijuana in their backyard or maintain a small shabu laboratory. Thus, we should all be vigilant when it comes to helping our authorities prevent crimes from happening.
I would also like to congratulate members of the Southern Police District headed by a friend, Brigadier Gen. Jimili Macaraeg for arresting three other known drug personalities during a buy-bust operation in Bgy. Pio del Pilar in Makati City shortly after noon Thursday. Macaraeg, a classmate from PMA ‘Sambisig’ Class of 1991 of Maj. Gen. Danao identified the suspects as Yuuki Francisco Shimazu, Richmon Rubio and Montano Decena II, all residents of Bgy. Pio del Pilar.
The official said that the trio were arrested by members of the SPD Drug Enforcement Unit after they conspired to sell P500 worth of shabu to an undercover officer.He said that recovered from the suspects were a total of 14.1 grams of shabu worth P95,880 and 4.2 grams of Kush P5,040 and the boodle money topped by a marked P500 bill.
All suspects are now facing charges for violation of Sec 5 (Sale of Dangerous Drugs), Sec 11 (Possession of Dangerous Drugs) and Sec 16 (Cultivation or Culture of Plants Classified as Dangerous Drugs) under Art II of RA 9165, said Danao.