3 students nabbed for selling ‘hallucinogenic’ cigarettes
Sandy Araneta (The Philippine Star) - December 19, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Three college students, all residents of Ayala Alabang in Muntinlupa City, were arrested Friday for allegedly selling “hallucinogenic” cigarettes, the National Bureau of Investigation said yesterday.

NBI Reaction, Arrest and Interdiction Division (RAID) Special Investigator Salvador Arteche said two of the suspects, both 17, were arrested in a drug bust at around 4 p.m. Friday at a gasoline station in Alabang. A third student, 20, was arrested in Ayala Alabang after the two minors identified him as their supplier.

Arteche said agents seized 11 packs of Maraja Fruit Tobacco cigarettes from the students. He said the students could not be charged with selling illegal drugs since the cigarettes are not listed as an illegal drug. He said they need to find out what kind of substances are in the cigarettes, which have an effect similar to marijuana.

The NBI-RAID had the cigarettes analyzed, but as of press time the bureau has not released the test results. One of the students said the substances in the cigarettes cannot be detected by blood or other laboratory tests.

The three students can only be charged with estafa since they gave a different brand from the one the NBI’s buyer had ordered, Arteche said.

The students, who said they thought the cigarettes were legal in the Philippines, said they sold each stick for P150 to P250. A shopping website offers the brand at P100 per stick.

One of the students said he earns about P15,000 per week from selling the cigarettes, which are from Brazil, per stick or per 10-stick pack.

The alleged supplier said most of their buyers are students from rich families or call center workers. He added that their main source is allegedly a man working for a music recording company who lives in Ayala Alabang.

Arteche said the two minors will be turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, while the alleged supplier’s parents are working to post his bail.

 

ALABANG ARREST AND INTERDICTION DIVISION ARTECHE AYALA ALABANG CIGARETTES DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT MARAJA FRUIT TOBACCO MUNTINLUPA CITY NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION SPECIAL INVESTIGATOR SALVADOR ARTECHE STUDENTS
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