AT the age of 14, Ken (not his real name) was earning P700 a day selling shabu. He is also a user.
Ken was just one of 11 minors who were rescued in a police operation in Barangay Pulpogan, Consolacion yesterday.
They were allegedly being used as drug couriers by Danilo Eriguero, 55, and his wife Thelma, 52.
The Municipal Drug Enforcement Unit of Consolacion Police Station (CPS) arrested the two in District 4 at 6 a.m.
The operation, which was led by Senior Insp. Romeo Caacoy Jr., also led to the arrest of their sons John Ivan, 22; John Lester, 24; and Jerome, 29.
Danilo, an employee of the Consolacion Municipal Hall under the General Services Office, is a high-value target (HVT). His wife and his children are tagged as street-level targets.
Supt. Mina Domingo, chief of CPS, said the search warrant was issued by Mandaue City Regional Trial Court Branch 28 Executive Judge Mercedita Dadole-Ignacio.
"Jerome already surrendered, but the father did not," Domingo said in Tagalog.
Domingo said they monitored the activities of the family for two weeks.
Police seized a revolver with five live ammunition and five medium packs and 20 sachets of suspected shabu from the couple.
The team also confiscated a medium pack of shabu each from John Ivan and Jerome and three medium packs and 15 sachets of the same substance from John Lester.
The confiscated drugs were worth P708,000.
Danilo and Thelma denied the allegation, saying a neighbor concocted allegations against them.
Danilo said he works hard, adding that he even drives a funeral car to earn extra.
"Sila'y nagduwa kami giduot (Our neighbor is engaged in the drug trade, but is pointing the finger at us)," he said.
He also denied owning the firearm.
Thelma said that she's only home during the weekends because she does her sister's laundry in Mandaue City during the weekdays.
She said her son Jerome stopped his illegal drug activities since the latter surrendered.
According to Danilo and Thelma, police picked them up at Jerome's house as they weren't home.
Their children also denied the allegation.
Authorities found the minors sleeping on the second floor of the Eriguero house. Two of them are girls.
Four are 14 years old while two are 16. The rest are 17, 15, 12, 11 and nine.
One of them is another son of the Erigueros, while four are their grandchildren.
Ken did not point to the Erigueros, but he said that a man who wears a hat was the one who told them to sell illegal drugs.
Ken, who hails from Barangay Tugbongan, said he left their house because his grandmother kept scolding him. He then sold illegal drugs and used the same substance once or twice a week.
"Di na ko mousab. Nahadlok ko (I don't want to do it again. I am scared)," he said.
Thirty minutes later, authorities also caught the Eriguero's daughter Jenelyn , 32, with three sachets of shabu in the same area.
Danilo and Thelma have eight children. One is dead. Only their 12-year-old daughter lives with them in the house.
Their other son Clifford, 26, was detained last January also for illegal drugs.
At 8 a.m. yesterday, CPS operatives arrested Jeofer Amancio, 33, and Mides Mission, 31,in District 7, Pulpogan.
Domingo said Amancio and Mission are neighbors.
One of the Erigueros' son said that Mission's ex-husband supplied them with drugs.
Mission said she does not where he is since they no longer communicate.
One of Mission's children was one of the minors rescued.
Six sachets of shabu were seized from Amancio and Mission.
Domingo said they will file charges against the suspects tomorrow.
Authorities turned over the children to the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office.
"We might also charge the parents of the minors for neglecting their parental duties," said Domingo in Tagalog.