AN anti-narcotics team killed a suspected drug pusher, caught three alleged cohorts, and seized P15.6 million worth of illegal drugs in a drug den in Barangay Calamba, Cebu City last Tuesday night.
The white crystals believed to be shabu weighed 2,200 grams.
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 7 Director Yogi Filemon Ruiz said the contraband is their first big haul this year.
“The group is a syndicate. They have contacts inside the jails,” he said in Cebuano.
In 2016, PDEA operatives seized 19.6 kilos of illegal drugs worth P90 million and arrested 153 pushers in Central Visayas.
Ruiz said his personnel opted to shoot at Rene Christofer Scholtiz after the latter drew out his firearm past 6 p.m. inside a compound in Sun Valley Subdivision on V. Rama St., Calamba.
Scholtiz, who was 26 and half-German, died 30 minutes after he arrived in the Cebu City Medical Center.
The suspect’s alleged companions—Christie Ocañada Diongzon, 37; Meralyn Macapal Monreal, 23; and Eduardo Tesing Ramos, 36—were caught during the buy-bust. Their other cohort, Danny Bao, escaped arrest.
Diongzon was the target of the operation.
When asked about her participation in the drug group, Diongzon denied her involvement.
“Ha? Ako’y target? Wala man ko mamaligya (What? I was their target? But I wasn’t selling anything),” she said.
Diongzon claimed she was sweeping the ground when the agents made the arrest.
For their part, Ramos and Monreal denied they are dealers.
“Wala ko’y kalibotan, uy (I have nothing to do with it)!” said Ramos.
Ruiz said the suspects belong to a drug group and their supplier is a drug lord from the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.
Diongzon, Monreal and Ramos denied they are members of a drug group, which Ruiz said is lorded over by a certain JB.
Ruiz believes the shabu they seized from the suspects was possibly made in China, saying the contraband is “pure white.”
“Naa’y uban mag-attempt og luto-luto diri, lahi siya’g kolor (Some have attempted to cook meth here, but the stuff they make has a different color),” he said.
Ruiz believes there is still a big supply of shabu in the country for this month, saying the China-based syndicates often produced tons of illegal drugs in September, October, November and December.
“Ang sindikato magkabuang sila asa nila i-dispose (The syndicates scramble to find places where they can dispose of these drugs),” he said.
Before the arrest happened past 6 p.m., Ruiz said the drug pushers they caught had divulged that JB is their supplier.
PDEA agents, who pretended to be junkies, started transacting with the group last October, but the deal failed to push through.
“They will not transact if you will only buy less than 100 grams,” said Ruiz in Cebuano.
During the transaction with Diongzon, Bao, and Scholtis inside the compound, the agent used boodle money (a wad of paper topped by real bills) amounting to P300,000.
Monreal and Ramos later came, carrying two packs of shabu.
The agent then signaled to other operatives that the transaction was completed by giving a call.
Sensing they were dealing with a law enforcer, Bao and Scholtis ran. The other suspects were captured this time.
Scholtis drew out his .45 pistol, but the operatives shot him first.
For Diongzon, she said she is not a drug dealer, but admitted she was once a junkie. A certain Elizabeth employs her as a caretaker of a surplus car shop.
“Wala man tawon ko’y labot ana, ila ra man ko gitawag sa gawas unya gidiretso lang man kog dakop (I have nothing to do with that. They just called me outside then arrested me straightaway),” she said.
Diongzon worries that no one will take care of her two daughters, 17 and 14, because her husband is also detained in Taboan Police Station for alleged drug possession, after he was caught last Dec. 13.
She also had trouble finding P30,000 for her husband’s bail, and then she got caught.
“Mag-uban na nuon mi ani sa prisohan (We’ll end up in prison together),” she said.
At 4 a.m. yesterday, police caught Enrique Valencia Jr. and seized P590,000 worth of shabu in Barangay San Nicolas, Cebu City.
A .38 revolver was also confiscated from the suspect.
Complaints for violating Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, will be filed against the suspects.
Ruiz said that drug personalities still continue their business because of “easy money,” despite the law enforcement agencies’ tougher drive against them.
He said it is possible that there are still government officials and law enforcers who continue protecting drug personalities.
The official, however, hopes that with their recent operation, the supply of shabu in the market will dwindle.
“Mas momahal, maglisod ang mga user. Once maglisod sila, menos na lang ang mogamit. Pero kahibalo mo aning adik, bisan pa magkalisod-lisod, bisag unsa pa ka mahal, mangita gyod og paagi kay adik na man (The more expensive it gets, the tougher it will be for the user. Fewer people will use drugs. But you know how addicts are, no matter how scarce or how expensive the supply gets, they’ll find a way to get it),” he said.