July 13, 2024

Seven individuals were arrested for attempting to transport P4.6 million worth marijuana in Bulanao Centro, Tabuk City, Kalinga on June 12.

The Police Regional Office-Cordillera reported that a checkpoint was conducted by the joint operatives after receiving information about a group of individuals who would be transporting marijuana products from Tinglayan to Tabuk City. 

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Kalinga, together with the Kalinga Intelligence Unit and Drug Enforcement Unit, Regional DEU, Tabuk City Police Station, Regional Intelligence Unit, 1st and 2nd Provincial Mobile Force Company, 1503rd Regional Mobile Force Battalion and Regional Intelligence Unit-14 led the operating troops.

The suspects were identified as Sandy Legnes, who is the driver of the van, and Raymond Nazareno, both from Bulacan; Michael David, Kenneth Christian Sum, Matthew John Milgate, John Ashley Sevilla, and Rhecel Maribojoc, who are all residents of Pampanga.

Confiscated from the suspects were 38 bricks of dried marijuana leaves with an estimated weight of 38,000 grams and standard drug price of P4,560,000, two small wrapped bricks of marijuana dried leaves and fruiting tops with an estimated weight of 300 grams with a street market value of P36,000; and one brown paper bag of suspected dried marijuana leaves and stalks with an estimated weight of 10 grams worth P1,200.

The suspects, who are ages 21 to 33 years old, are facing cases for violation of Section 5 of the Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

PDEA-Cordillera Information Officer Rosel Sarmiento said the suspects were found to not have any previous drug-related cases and offenses against them in Cordillera and in other regions.

In an earlier interview, Sarmiento said the region remains to the the biggest source of marijuana in the country.

She said most of the marijuana is being shipped outside of the region, thus many individuals attempt to transport the illegal drug despite several arrests being made.

In 2016, PDEA-Cordillera made history for having the biggest haul of marijuana worth P4.5 billion which includes 70 eradications in 263 planting.

It was also the same year that then President Rodrigo Duterte launched his anti-drug war campaign in the country, which spurred the multiple marijuana eradication efforts of the government. – Ofelia C. Empian