THE Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) claimed to have “neutralized” a suspected drug syndicate following the arrest of its three major players in a buy-bust on Spolarium St., Barangay Duljo Fatima, Cebu City shortly after noontime yesterday.

Arrested during the operation were Noel C. Diaz, alias Nimzu, 35, and his younger brother Reynaldo, alias Jumbo, 31, both residents of Sitio Vampire, Duljo Fatima; Roland “Kerwin” E. Espinosa, 30, of Cahipa, Barangay Hipodromo; Ronnie T. Pocson, 38, of Barangay Mabini, Ormoc City; and Cipriano A. Diano, 36, of Barangay Tinago II, Benoldo, Albuera town, Leyte. All the five suspects declined to comment on the allegations.

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Pocson and Diano are reportedly working as bodyguards of a politician in the Visayas.

Because of this information, CCPO Director Patrocinio Comendador said they are establishing the possibility that the proceeds of the drugs may be used for narcopolitics.

“They may be mixing drugs with politics. That’s what we would like to find out,” he said.

An estimated 35 grams of white crystalline substance, believed to be shabu, and placed in seven plastic packs, and four assorted .45 pistols with magazines and pieces of ammunition were confiscated during the operation.

Comendador said the confiscated drugs are worth about P280,000.

Comendador said yesterday’s buy-bust was a result of a two-week legwork of a joint team led by Supt. Pablo Labra II, City Anti-illegal Drug Special Task Force (Caidsotf) commander, and Chief Insp. George Ylanan of the Investigation and Detective Management Branch, against Noel.

He said a police decoy managed to set up a deal with Noel. The decoy and Noel reportedly agreed to meet on Spolarium St. yesterday.

Noel arrived on board a black Toyota Hilux (ZTS 766). He disembarked from the vehicle with two other men, who were later identified as Pocson and Diano.

Comendador said immediately after Noel gave a pack of shabu to a poseur-buyer, the team of operatives pounced on the suspects.

Labra and Ylanan, in a news conference yesterday afternoon, said Pocson and Diano initially attempted to draw their pistols but were taken aback because of the “adequate” number of police operatives that surrounded them.

Reynaldo and Espinosa, who turned out to be inside the vehicle, also went out, Ylanan said. Both men allegedly yielded drugs when they were frisked. They were also armed with .45 pistols loaded with bullets.

Major

Two packs of suspected shabu were found in Reynaldo’s possession, while three other packs of the same substance were confiscated from Espinosa.

Another pack of shabu was found in a compartment of the vehicle.

Labra said the Diaz brothers and Espinosa have been classified as “major players” in the “Diaz Group” of big-time drug peddlers in Cebu.

Labra said that according to the information they received, the group gets their drug supply from a Cebuana, who is now based in Manila.

The group can allegedly dispose of at least two kilos of shabu a week. Apart from Cebu City, the group’s market included the cities of Talisay, Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue, Labra said.

“With their arrest now, we can say that their group is temporarily neutralized until we can identify other new players. But as of now, with their arrest, it is very clear and apparent that their group has been neutralized.”

Noel will be charged for selling shabu while his brother Reynaldo and Espinosa will face charges of illegal possession of shabu.

Except for Noel, all the other four suspects will also be charged with illegal possession of firearms and for violation of the gun ban imposed by the Commission on Elections.