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P6.7 billion shabu seized in Manila

Marc Jayson Cayabyab, Ralph Edwin Villanueva - The Philippine Star
P6.7 billion shabu seized in Manila
Members of the PNP-Drug Enforcement Group seized two kilos of suspected shabu hidden in Chinese tea packaging from an active police officer during an anti-illegal drugs operation along the southbound lane of the Quezon Bridge in Quiapo, Manila on Sunday (October 9, 2022).
STAR / Miguel De Guzman

Anti-drug cop arrested

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) confiscated 990 kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu and arrested an anti-narcotics officer in a series of stings in Manila since Saturday afternoon.

The first sting was launched on Saturday afternoon by the PNP Drug Enforcement Group (PDEG) in Tondo, Manila. It resulted in the arrest of Ney Saligumba Atadero for 990 kilograms of shabu valued at P6.7 billion.

The second sting was a hot pursuit operation before dawn yesterday against a PDEG member, M/Sgt. Rodolfo Mayo Jr., at Quezon bridge in Quiapo, Manila. At least two kilos of shabu worth P13.6 million, a gun, a sport utility vehicle and a PNP identification card were confiscated from him.

Mayo was arrested for using his lending business, Wealth and Personal Development Lending Inc., located in Sta. Cruz, Manila for his alleged drug dealings, according to police.

In a press briefing at Camp Crame yesterday, Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos called the 990 kilos of shabu seized during the operations “probably the biggest drug haul in the history of the Philippines.”

Abalos said the latest accomplishment is proof that the war on drugs can be “less bloody,” as he vowed to oversee the prosecution of the case so it would not be dismissed on any technicality.

“As a lawyer, I’m very interested in ensuring that there is no technicality so the case would not be dismissed,” Abalos said.

On March 15, the National Bureau of Investigation arrested 10 suspects in a drug sting in Infanta, Quezon that resulted in the confiscation of 1,855 kilos of shabu worth P11 billion. Then NBI officer-in-charge Eric Distor also called it “the biggest drug haul in Philippine history.”

Drug links

PDEG director Brig. Gen. Narciso Domingo said marked money and various identification cards were taken from Atadero.

Mayo, a member of PDEG’s special operations unit, was arrested after “incriminating” documents implicating him were found in the lending firm’s office, where Atadero said the shabu had been stored, according to Domingo.

A third operation resulted in the arrest of Juden Francisco in Pasig, as well as Lyndon Dionson, 40; Kenneth Dionson, 40; Dindo Cochoco, 28; Ritzewl Carballo, 39; Bernardo Corridor, 56; Rodolfo Detalla, 54, and Virgilio Bacus, 37.

During the press briefing, PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. said they will investigate if there are other police officers involved in the drug operation.

“The business, that is a legal front. But in truth, we found out that (the business) is where the suspected illegal drugs were stored and they are selling it to other users and clients,” Azurin told reporters in Filipino.

“I would believe, I would assume that this is not just on the level of Mayo. So we really need to have an intensive investigation and inquiry,” he added.

Azurin said it is possible that the shabu had been “recycled” from previous police operations.

He also encouraged local government units to look into the businesses owned by police officers to check whether these are “really doing what they are supposed to do.”

Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna, who was at the press briefing, thanked the police for a “job well done.”

“You have saved lives from drugs, not only in the city of Manila but also in the whole country,” she said in Filipino.

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