DILG: Canadian ‘major player’ in P9.6 billion drug haul

Mark Ernest Villeza - The Philippine Star
DILG: Canadian �major player� in P9.6 billion drug haul
Canadian drug suspect Thomas Gordon O’Quinn is escorted by police at Camp Crame yesterday.
Miguel De Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — The government is getting closer to dismantling the drug ring behind the P9.6-billion shabu shipment seized by authorities in Alitagtag, Batangas last month following the arrest of a Canadian suspect, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Thomas Gordon O’Quinn was presented to media yesterday by Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos and Philippine National Police chief Gen. Rommel Francisco Marbil.

Abalos underscored the significant role of O’Quinn in the drug smuggling operation.

“He is one of the major characters in this case. He is a major player,” Abalos said, adding that authorities have “solid evidence linking O’Quinn to the illegal drug trade.”

O’Quinn, also known as James Toby Martin, was apprehended by intelligence operatives of the National Capital Region Police Office, Calabarzon police and Bureau of Immigration at a spa in Barangay Maitim II, Tagaytay on May 16.

The suspect was nabbed based on a red notice alert from the International Criminal Police Organization or Interpol for conspiracy to possess, export and distribute illegal drugs in the United States.

During O’Quinn’s arrest, police said the suspect allegedly yielded an undetermined amount of shabu, cocaine and Ecstasy tablets.

Authorities also recovered from the suspect 14 identification cards with his photos under different names, seven cell phones, a computer tablet, 14 SIM cards and P3,600 in cash.

“This is under investigation. So we will provide only essential information to ensure that the case is airtight,” Marbil said.

He said police are digging deeper into the case to unmask those behind the shabu shipment and dismantle the drug ring members.

Abalos commended the performance of the PNP in the war on drugs, saying that nearly P13 billion worth of drugs were intercepted from Jan. 1 to May 19.

O’Quinn previously eluded arrest during a raid on a house he rented in Barangay Natipuan, Nasugbu, Batangas last month.

Abalos said the suspect will be charged for violating the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 and Article 178 of the Revised Penal Code (use of fictitious names).

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