Government worker arrested in drug buy-bust

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014


A GOVERNMENT employee and the person who complained against a petroleum company were arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 in an illegal drug buy-bust operation in Barangay Langtad, City of Naga.

The team led by supervising agent Rennan Oliva caught suspected drug pushers Zosimo Abaquita and Ricardo Cantillas, an employee of the City of Naga Office of the Building Official (OBO), last Friday afternoon.

Cantillas is believed to be the supplier of illegal drugs to Abaquita, according to the NBI agents’ joint affidavit of arrest.

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Abaquita earlier complained against the LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) storage facility that Petronas Energy Philippines Inc. built near his house in Sitio Mohon, Barangay Langtad. He accused the company of violating Republic Act 9514, or the Fire Code of the Philippines 2008.

Oliva alleged that Abaquita’s house is a drug den where drug users sniff shabu.

Surveillance

“We conducted surveillance on him for three weeks,” he said, referring to Abaquita.

Sisters Arnette Sarusal and Ariel Sarusal were also caught by agents while allegedly sniffing shabu. The siblings denied they were using illegal drugs inside the house of Abaquita.

Seized from Abaquita were several packets of shabu, assorted drug paraphernalia and marked five P100 bills. A .9mm gun was also recovered from Cantillas.

The Sarusals, Abaquita and Cantillas were charged before the City of Naga Prosecutor's Office yesterday for violating Republic Act (RA) 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Admission

Cantillas was also charged for violating RA 10591, or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.

In an interview at their detention cell, Abaquita admitted he sells illegal drugs in small quantity.

“Di gyod na dinagko akoa (I never sell big amounts),” he said. He added that he can disposed of 1.8 grams of shabu, worth P2,800, in three days.

Cantillas denied he is a drug pusher, but admitted he is a user. He said he went to Abaquita's house after the latter told him that there was a girl coming to meet him.

He said he arrived three minutes before the NBI agents came.

Uniform

The OBO's field inspector was in uniform when he was caught. He admitted he sniffed shabu.

Supervising agent Rey Villordon witnessed during the operation that Cantillas turned over a medium-sized pack of what he believed to contain shabu to Abaquita.

Villordon said he overheard Cantillas telling Abaquita: “Naa pa koy kolektahon nimo sa sunod tagak (I will collect from you on the next delivery).”

During his arrest, Cantillas allegedly resisted and even tried to pull out his loaded gun. But he was subdued by the agents.

His vehicle was searched and the agents found sachets with traces of shabu, unused plastic packs, needle, tooter, a small notebook containing lists of debts and payments involving drug transactions.

Cantillas said he stopped sniffing shabu in 2004. Two years later, he started to work for OBO.

He said he return to his old vice last Dec. 31.

Abaquita was a gasoline station supervisor. He said he joined the illegal drug trade last year after he learned his wife went with another man.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 21, 2014.

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