A DRIVER and a construction worker thought what was inside a green Christmas paper bag was a gift but instead it contained almost P30 million worth of shabu.
Roljoy Rosette, 33, who drives a for-hire motorcycle, and Joshiel de Jesus, 28, a construction worker, hid their faces when operatives handcuffed them on 6th Street, North Reclamation Area in Barangay Carreta, Cebu City.
“We transacted with them on the phone, which was on and off because they were so elusive,” said Supt. Fermin Armendarez III, head of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) 7 based in Metro Cebu.
Along with the haul from a separate operation, about P31.8 million worth of meth were confiscated in just a day.
Armendarez said that the transaction with Rosette and de Jesus stretched for four months because the suspects hesitated.
He said that the police had received the number of a drug supplier from a confidential informant.
At 6 last night, in front of a container yard of a shipping line, the buy-bust was consummated, much to the regret of Rosette and de Jesus.
“Mao na man ni nisugat namo. Sobra pas mahay. Abi man namo’g pang-pasko na namo. Sus. Pinaskohan gud diay (This is what greeted us. We deeply regret this. I thought we were getting something for Christmas),” said Rosette, while pulling his cap down.
According to the habal-habal driver, a frequent passenger who lived on Sabellano St. in Quiot was the one who told him to deliver the package for P1,000.
“Niana siya nako nga ‘Ayaw lang tan-awa ang sulod. Pag taxi lang mo (He told me, ‘Just don’t look at what’s inside. Ride a taxi to the location’),” Rosette said.
He denied an allegation that the drugs were his, saying that he was only instructed by his client and that this was the first time that he had delivered a package for that man.
“Nikagat ra pud ko tungod sa kalisod ba (I fell into that trap because of poverty),” he said, adding that he wouldn’t have agreed to deliver the bag if he had any idea what was inside it.
De Jesus, for his part, said he did not know that shabu was inside the paper bag and only tagged along with Rosette.
Armendarez said that the two can be considered Level 1 drug pushers, considering the quantity of shabu they can deliver.
“Dili na sila muhatod og tag 50 grams, kanang mga ginagmay. Mga 200 grams, 450 grams mao na ilaha (They won’t deliver shabu only weighing 50 grams because that’s just minimal. They’ll only deliver 200 grams or 450 grams),” he said.
The two did not resist arrest.
Two large bags of shabu were confiscated from the suspects, which were estimated to be worth P29.5 million based on the Dangerous Drugs Board’s (DDB) assessment.
The price that the suspects and the police decoy agreed on was P2 million.
According to Armendarez, who headed the operation, the police will trace the drug supplier who ordered the transaction.
He said that despite the tough anti-drug campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte, illegal drugs still circulate in the market because of poverty and the continuing existence of users.
For now, the operatives cannot yet determine if the drugs came from the remnants of the network of Cebu’s alleged biggest drug lord Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz, self-confessed Eastern Visayas drug lord Kerwin Espinosa or Alvaro “Barok” Alvaro’s underlings, whose operation is allegedly continuing.
Hours before that bust, two women were also caught by the same team in a drug bust behind a mall in Barangay Mabolo at around noon.
The CIDG 7 arrested Josephine Alfante and Shieralace Ylaya, allegedly with P2.3 million worth of shabu weighing 200 grams in exchange for P320,000.
The arrested persons will face charges for violating Section 5 of RA 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. The sale or delivery of an illegal drug is a non-bailable offense.