By Jennifer P. Rendon
Two former jail mates were again reunited behind bars following their arrest in a police anti-narcotics operation late afternoon of December 13 at Pavia, Iloilo.
The suspects were identified as Noriel Sembrano, 42, of Barangay Calaparan, Arevalo, Iloilo City and Leomar Cataquez, 39, of Barangay Zamora-Melliza, City Proper, Iloilo City.
Sembrano, a construction worker, and Cataquez, a barangay tanod, allegedly connived in selling shabu to a poseur-buyer around 5:19 p.m. Tuesday at Barangay Pandac, Pavia.
Members of the Regional Police Drug Enforcement Unit (RPDEU)-6 and the Pavia Municipal Police Station recovered 14 plastic sachets of suspected shabu, the buy-bust money, a caliber .38 revolver loaded with 4 live ammunition, and a knife.
Lieutenant Glenn Soliman, RPDEU-6 team leader, said the seized shabu was valued at P442,000.
Since both of them were previously jailed, they are considered high-value individuals.
Sembrano, the subject of the operation, has criminal records for theft and robbery.
He was arrested and eventually detained at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP)-6 in Ungka in 2016. He served his sentence and was released on July 30, 2022.
Sembrano was the one who handed in the 13 sachets of suspected shabu. He also yielded a handgun.
It was during his incarceration that Sembrano established a friendship with Cataquez.
Arrested for the charge of visiting a drug den, Cataquez was detained at BJMP-Ungka in 2009. He was released in 2017 after serving his sentence.
Soliman said it was Sembrano who had connections with detained drug personalities.
A month after his release, Sembrano was monitored to have engaged in the illegal drug trade.
Both suspects will be charged with violation of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002).
Sembrano will also be charged with violation of Republic Act 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act) while Cataquez will also be slapped for breach of Batas Pambansa Bilang 6 or illegal possession of a deadly weapon.