TWO operations just 13 hours apart in Cebu City yesterday led the authorities to P46.8 million worth of shabu.
Both suspects, the brother of a councilman in Barangay Pasil and a jobless woman in Barangay Guadalupe, were arrested.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 7 said they caught the woman, Maria Diaz del Mar, and seized two kilos of shabu worth P32 million from her.
This happened in a condominium unit in Banawa, Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.
PDEA 7 Director Yogi Filemon Ruiz said that the suspect, who is 28, sourced her supply from the National Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.
“Mao ni siya ang bagsakan sa grupo sa Munti diri sa Cebu. Siya ang bodegera (The group from Munti sends the bulk of their supply to her in Cebu. She’s like a warehouse caretaker for them),” he said.
The earlier arrest took place at dawn in Sitio Mahayahay 1, Barangay Pasil.
Operatives confiscated P14.8 million worth of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) and arrested Melchor Ocarol at 2:30 a.m. in the Pasil fish port.
He was described as the brother of a former barangay captain in Barangay Pasil who later became a councilman.
“The operation was conducted after a series of arrests. Based on our assessment, nahihirapan sila na magtransport ng drugs to Cebu City much more na sa pag dispose (They’re finding it difficult to transport and dispose of drugs in Cebu City),” Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) Director Joel Doria said.
Ocarol is considered a big-time supplier in Metro Cebu and allegedly transported his drugs through the seaport in Pasil.
Doria said that the incumbent Pasil barangay captain, Ocarol’s cousin, was present during the arrest but distanced himself and did not intervene.
Doria also pointed out that Ocarol’s house was just beside the barangay hall and upon the arrest, he told authorities that he has relatives who are barangay officials.
“Pinagmalaki yung kamag-anak niya na barangay officials (He bragged that he has relatives who are barangay officials),” Doria said.
As for the Carbon Police Station head, Chief Insp. Clark Arriola, Doria said that he will assess the officer’s performance. But he will wait for an explanation why they failed to raid the place as well as an alleged drug den in Barangay Ermita, which a PDEA team raided last last Nov. 6.
Doria also noted that the Carbon police have arrested 107 drug suspects from July 1 to Nov. 3.
Arriola, in an interview with Sun.Star Cebu, said that his station did not receive a heads-up from the PDEA about the operation.
“It’s part of courtesy to coordinate with us to avoid a mis-encounter with my men,” Arriola said in Cebuano.
The shabu weighed 1.255 kilograms and was reportedly intended for the City Jail.
According to the City Intelligence Branch’s (CIB) Chief Insp. Cristopher Navida, the police had placed Ocarol under one month’s surveillance.
“Bagsakan siya ng illegal na drugs sa supplier niya. Tini trace pa natin dun sa Manila area at Ozamis area (His supplier dropped off his drugs with him. We’re still tracing more information in Manila and Ozamis),” Navida said.
His area of distribution allegedly included A. Lopez, Guadalupe, and Carreta.
One extra-large pack, three large packs and four medium packs of shabu were seized from Ocarol’s possession.
Navida added that Ocarol tried to negotiate with the police and tried to resist arrest.
“Noong una nag re-resist. Gusto nga nila na tawagin agad si kapitan. Sabi niya, ‘Tawagin si Kapitan. Sige po tawagin niyo kung anong intervention nila’ (At first, he resisted. They wanted to call the barangay captain immediately. He said, ‘Call the barangay captain. Call him and find out how he’ll intervene’),” he said.
In an interview, Ocarol denied the allegation against him and said he regretted receiving the package.
He said that someone just drops off a package and the person who picks it up pays him P3,000 every time. He said he didn’t know their names, and didn’t use drugs because he was ill.
When asked why he handed a small sachet of shabu to the police decoy, Ocarol did not answer.
“Dako kaayo ko’g pagmahay (I regret this so much),” he added.
He will face cases for violating Sections 5 and 11 of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Possession of more than five grams of shabu will render the case non-bailable.
Interviewed separately, Pasil Barangay Councilor Romeo Ocarol says he was shocked after learning about his brother’s arrest. He said he did not know about his activities, as they hadn’t seen each other for a long time.
“Wa gyud mi kalibutan ana. Nahibong na lang mi sa nahitabo. Iyaha na gyud nang problema. Iya gyud ng atubangon (We had no idea this was happening. We’re puzzled. But that’s his problem and he must face it,” he said.
Last Oct. 18, Romeo said, the family had invited Melchor to attend the birthday celebration of one of their siblings but he did not show up, saying he had no money.
During the observance of All Souls’ Day and All Saints’ Day last week, Romeo also said, they asked Melchor to go with them to the Queen City Memorial Gardens to visit their loved ones’ graves.
Their family had a get-together since one of their relatives flew in from the United States.
“Wa gihapon siya niadto kay wa kuno siya’y kwarta. Giingnan namo nga kami’y bahala sa plite pero ingon siya kami lang sa daw magtapok. Mao nang nahibong mi sa nahitabo ron kay ingon siya wa siya’y kwarta (He still didn’t go, saying he had no money. He didn’t go even after we offered to pay for his fare. That’s why we’re surprised about this; he kept saying he had no money),” he said.
Romeo, a former barangay captain of Pasil, lamented his brother’s involvement in illegal activities.