By Jennifer P. Rendon
Several number of suspected drug personalities based in Barangay Bakhaw, Mandurriao, Iloilo City allegedly fled from the village amid the police’s intensified anti-illegal drugs crackdown in the area.
Lieutenant Colonel Albert Sy, Iloilo City Police Station 5 chief, said they could no longer find individuals who are on the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC)’s watchlist.
When asked how many individuals could no longer be located, Sy did not give the exact number but only said “medyo damo-damo.”
He said these individuals could have left Bakhaw, which was once tagged as Iloilo City’s drug haven, following the police’s heightened anti-narcotics operations.
“They could have laid low and transferred to other barangays in Iloilo City or they could have left the metropolis, in the meantime,” he said.
Consequently, Sy said the illegal drug supply in Bakhaw also dwindled.
“Based on the apprehensions we had, the volume of drugs is way smaller compared to the ones seized in other areas of Iloilo City,” he said.
Since Sy assumed post as ICPS5 chief early this month, police have conducted seven anti-illegal drug operations in Bakhaw.
But he said that they would continue to hold operations even in areas where Bakhaw pushers could have sought refuge.
P1.02-M SHABU BUST
Incidentally, a former resident of Bakhaw and suspected high-value individual (HVI) drug personality was arrested in a drug buy-bust in Jaro on Saturday.
Praud Joan Animas, 43, was collared during a buy-bust operation at his house in Barangay Lanit, Jaro district around 12:50 a.m. on February 18.
Members of the Iloilo City Police Office-City Drug Enforcement Unit (ICPO-CDEU) and members of the Iloilo City Police Station 3 nabbed Animas after selling a sachet of suspected shabu for P50,000 to an undercover agent.
Following Animas’ arrest, police recovered nine plastic sachets of suspected shabu, P10,000 cash, the P50,000 marked money, a roll of aluminum foil, and a small box.
Lieutenant Colonel Antonio Benitez, Jr., ICPO CDEU and concurrent ICPO City Intelligence Unit (CIU) chief, said the seized illegal drugs weighed around 160 grams and were valued at P1,020,000.
Benitez considered Animas a “bodegero” or the one in charge of safekeeping the illegal drug supply.
Animas used to be a resident of Barangay Bakhaw, Mandurriao. He was placed under police monitoring following the dismantling of an illegal drug den in Bakhaw village on January 25 where 32 persons were arrested.
Animas was also arrested and charged for drug peddling several months ago but was later released after availing of the plea bargaining agreement.
Benitez said the suspect claimed his supply came from Negros Occidental. He also named his alleged contacts to authorities.
“That’s now the subject of our follow-up investigation,” he said.
When asked if there are other targets in Lanit, Benitez said they are monitoring several individuals in the area. He did not elaborate.
Benitez said they’re also checking the possible link of Animas to Dennis Longno.
The 45-year-old Longno, also a resident of Barangay Lanit, Jaro, was arrested several hours after Animas.
Members of ICPO-CDEU and ICPS3 collared Longno for allegedly selling a sachet of suspected shabu worth P6,000 to a police poseur buyer.
He yielded four more sachets of suspected shabu.
Benitez said the shabu seized from Longno is worth P81,600.
Both Animas and Longno are now detained pending the filing of charges against them for violation of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002).