ABOUT 455 grams of suspected shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) with an estimated market value of P2.7 million was seized in a drug bust conducted by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Barangay Mandalagan, Bacolod City, Wednesday night.
The operatives also arrested Ritchie Villanueva of Manapla, Negros Occidental.
PDEA team leader Johna Mirador said Villanueva sold a sachet of suspected shabu to a poseur-buyer for P6,000. The agents then recovered from Villanueva’s possession a bag with a big plastic sachet containing suspected shabu, and the P6,000 marked money.
Mirador said the suspect has been monitored selling illegal drugs in Manapla town, and he was placed under surveillance for almost a month.
Villanueva, who is detained at the lock-up cell of Police Station 3, said over Bombo Radyo Bacolod that he is a drug user but not a pusher.
He added that he was asked by his friend, Johnrey Acosta, to pick up an item in a service courier inside a mall.
Villanueva, who has worked abroad, said that he was about to go home to Iloilo City and he did not know that his friend used him to carry out an illegal transaction.
PDEA-Western Visayas Deputy Regional Director Ronnie Delicano earlier said that they are sustaining their "high impact" operations, as the agency aims to arrest high-value targets and seize large volumes of illegal drug supply in Negros Occidental, including Bacolod.
Last week, operations in Bacolod and Cadiz yielded a total of P1.2 million in suspected shabu.
Delicano said that with the ongoing MassKara Festival, they expect a big distribution of illegal drugs not only in Bacolod but also in other areas of the province.
They are intensifying their monitoring operations in sea ports, terminals, and service courier channels to intercept contraband, he added.