AT LEAST P34 million worth of illegal drugs were confiscated from January to June this year in operations by the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7.

Their haul is P27 million more than their haul in the same months last year, which amounted to P7 million.

Police officials clarified the larger number doesn’t mean illegal drugs have become more rampant in Central Visayas, but that their campaign has been more aggressive so far this year.

In the first six months, the PRO 7 conducted 1,143 operations, higher than the 710 operations in the same half of 2013.

Cebu City ranked highest, with 486 operations, followed by the Cebu Provincial Police Office with 460 operations; Lapu-Lapu City, with 179 operations; and Mandaue City, with 71 operations.

Supt. Marvin Sanchez of the PRO 7 showed the statistics in yesterday’s Talakayan sa Isyung Police Forum. He also showed that the police arrested 1,143 suspects in drug-related cases this year, compared to 710 arrested persons in the same months of 2013.

The number of cases filed so far this year reached 1,229, almost twice the 636 cases filed in first six months of 2013.

“The distribution of drugs did not increase. The larger amount of confiscated drugs we have now would contribute to our efforts against drug operations. The increase in the statistics is a positive thought for us,” said Sanchez.

Aside from conducting operations, the police also organized seminars and workshops in schools as a pre-emptive measure against the spread of illegal drugs.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 7 has the highest amount of confiscated drugs so far this year, with one recent operation yielding around P8 million worth of shabu or methamphetamine hydrochloride.

Last May, 20 large packs of shabu were intercepted by the PDEA 7 from a courier company’s office in Cebu City.

The drugs had been hidden in the soles of the sandals that were shipped to Cebu from Metro Manila. Two women were arrested after claiming the drugs.

Sanchez added that the cooperation of the public has contributed to their series of operations against illegal drugs. JTR