FIVE people were arrested, of whom three belonged to a single family, during an operation to dismantle a drug den on Tuesday, March 15, 2022.

Operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Visayas (PDEA 7) were looking for Moises P. Villanueva, 72, a porter believed to be maintaining a drug den, when they conducted a buy-bust operation at 2:45 p.m. in Sitio Punyang, Barangay Duljo-Fatima, Cebu City.

They found what they were looking for.

Villanueva was arrested along with his jobless son, Manolito P. Villanueva, 36, and jobless grandson Winblo Villanueva, 18, “who served as employees of the drug den,” the PDEA 7 said in a statement.

Having all the bad luck for being at the wrong place at the wrong time, drug den visitors Rosita Diana P. Abelgas, 47, jobless, and Mark P. Bargamento, 26, a fish vendor, were also arrested.

Seized during the operation were 27 packs of suspected shabu weighing some 11 grams valued at P74,800, empty plastics and strips of foil with residue of suspected shabu, the buy-bust money and drug paraphernalia.

The suspects now face cases for violation of Article II of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, the PDEA 7 said.

Under this law, any person or group of persons who maintains a den where any dangerous drug is used or sold in any form shall be meted the penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from P500,000 to P10 million.

On the other hand, employees and visitors of such dens face jail time ranging from 12 years and one day to 20 years and a fine ranging from P100,000 to P500,000. (CTL)