By Jennifer P. Rendon
A quarter of a kilo of suspected shabu worth P1.7 million was seized from a man and his live-in partner in a police anti-narcotics operation morning of Feb 8, 2023 in Roxas City, Capiz.
Police identified the suspects as Dennis Benitez, 48, and Jurelyn Besa, 22, of Barangay Lawaan, Roxas City.
Members of the Capiz Police Provincial Office-Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit (CPPO-PDEU) collared the couple after selling a sachet of suspected shabu or crystal meth worth P20,000 to a police poseur-buyer.
When the couple was subsequently frisked, they yielded 16 sachets of suspected shabu weighing around 250 grams, a digital weighing scale, a cellphone and a sling bag.
Major Leomindo Tayopon, Capiz PDEU chief, said the target of the operation was Benitez, an alleged high value individual on the Roxas City Component City Police Station’s watchlist of suspected drug personalities.
Police claimed that Benitez can dispose of a kilo of illegal drugs in a week. His main area of operation is Roxas City and neighboring towns.
Benitez was placed under police surveillance for a month after two arrested illegal drug suspects pointed to him as their source.
Tayopon said they scored a positive test buy on the suspect prior to the operation.
“Even at that time, Besa was already going with Benitez during his drug peddling activities,” Tayopon said.
Benitez was arrested in a drug buy-bust operation in 2014.
Seven years later, he was released from incarceration through a plea bargaining agreement.
Benitez is back behind bars and will be charged, along with Besa, for violation of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002).
Meanwhile, Brigadier General Leo Francisco, Western Visayas police chief, said the regionwide operations against illegal drugs will be done relentlessly.
“Hindi ko hahayaang masira ang kinabukasan ng ating kabataan dahil sa iligal na droga. Pagtulungan po natin na masugpo na ang supply and demand ng iligal na droga,” Francisco said. (With a report from Felipe V. Celino)