February 6, 2023

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Police arrested 57 suspects of illegal drug trade in separate operations from March to August in the province.
Based on the report of Col. Elmer Ragay, provincial police director, 47 high-value individual (HVI) targets, seven street-level individuals, and three newly-identified drug personalities were arrested between March 16 and Aug. 17.
Ragay said the HVIs operate not only in the Cordillera but in other regions as well.
“Medyo big-time sila in terms of capacity to distribute illegal drugs,” he said in a text message Thursday.
The arrests were a result of 55 anti-illegal drugs operations that yielded shabu and marijuana with a market value of P17.3 million.
During the period, Ragay said 377.88 grams of shabu; 7,330 fully grown marijuana plants; 470 marijuana seedlings; 850 grams of fruiting tops; and 110 kilos of dried marijuana were seized and destroyed.
He said there are six drug-affected barangays in the province – three in La Trinidad, two in Kibungan where most of the marijuana eradication operations were conducted, and one in Buguias.
“We are devising a system to apprehend drug couriers and pushers, especially those that are connected to the vegetable industry in the capital town and the towns where the vegetables are grown,” he said.
In getting rid of marijuana plantations, Ragay said law enforcement agencies and the local government of Kibungan have agreed to do a regular and constant scouring of the mountains.
“We understand the difficult life of the people for growing a lighter but more precious commodity because they have to walk seven to eight hours to reach the road system but illegal is illegal. The difficult situation does not justify its cultivation,” Ragay said.
He said they are expected to receive high-end drones, as committed by ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Eric Yap, which would be used in the regular scouring of mountains to look for marijuana plantations. – PNA