By Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Kabankalan City Police Station in Negros Occidental arrested 21 persons and seized an estimated total of P340,000 worth of suspected shabu in two separate buy-bust operations at the said city on May 7 and 8.
The first operation was conducted on a rented house at Barangay Oringao last Friday that resulted in the arrest of four persons.
Police identified the subject as Jeffrey Cortez, 46, of the said village, while his companions were Rene Gumarang, 36, and Arnel Sarona, 28, both residents of Barangay Tagukon; and Joseph Eranes, 53, of Mabinay, Negros Oriental.
Police Lieutenant Jomel Salarda, deputy police chief of Kabankalan City Police Station, said that Cortez was listed as fifth in their drugs watchlist, while the others were street level targets.
Salarda said they monitored Cortez for three weeks before launching the operation.
During the operation, the suspects tried to escape by running towards the back door of the house but they were cornered by the police operatives.
Police recovered from them 35 grams of suspected shabu worth P238,000, drug paraphernalia, the P100 marked money, and P4,803.
Police also confiscated from Cortez a .38 caliber revolver loaded with four live ammunition.
The following day, PDEA-Negros Occidental and Guimaras operatives, along with the local police dismantled an alleged drug den at Purok 1, Barangay 6, where they apprehended 17 persons.
One of the alleged drug den maintainers arrested was Ricardo Garcia, 35, while his two other companions managed to escape.
The other arrested suspects, who were residents of Kabankalan and Himamaylan cities, and Binalbagan and Ilog towns were caught inside the house during the operation, based on a police report.
Authorities seized 15 grams of suspected shabu worth P102,000, drug paraphernalia, the P500 marked money, and P500.