5 suspected drug dealers at Pasay concert nabbed

THE National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) arrested five individuals involved in selling and manufacturing of illegal drugs two weeks after five concertgoers died due to alleged drug use while in a concert.

In a press conference on Wednesday, NBI Anti-Illegal Drugs division chief Joel Tovera presented to the media the five suspects the NBI had arrested in a drug bust in Paranaque City on Tuesday.

Tovera identified the arrested suspects as Marc Deen, Erica Valbuena, Thomas Halili, Martin Dimacali and Seergeoh Villanueva.

According to the NBI, the youngest among the suspects is 20 years old and the oldest is 33.

Seized during the drug bust in a condominium in Paranaque City were capsules of ecstasy, sachets of cocaine, and other tablets. Drug paraphernalia and equipment used in manufacturing illegal drugs were also seized during the operation.

"This is the first time na nakakuha tayo ng kitchen laboratory equipment, consistent po ito sa mga nakuha natin na Green Amore. Kayo na po ang bahala mag-conclude kung sila ay user o manufacturer," said Tovera.

The NBI also seized empty capsules suspected to be where the manufactured illegal chemicals will be put in.

"May mga empty capsules po dito. Pano nila papaliwanag 'to? Saan nila gagamit 'to?" he said.

Tovera said the operation was conducted following tip-offs from an informant.

When asked what made the NBI conclude that the suspects were the ones who sold drugs during the concert in Mall of Asia, Tovera said that a concerned politician texted them.

"A concerned politician texted one of my agents that his son was a victim of a syndicate that circulated drugs during the Close-Up Summer party," he said.

According to Tovera, the politician sent photos of the person who sold his son illegal drugs. The NBI official did not identify the politician.

Tovera also said that during tactical interrogation, the suspects admitted that all of them were present during the concert.

The NBI will be filing charges for violation of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002) for selling, manufacturing and possessing illegal drugs against the five suspects.

Last May 22, five concertgoers died after taking illegal drugs at the Close-Up summer party at the Mall of Asia in Pasay City. (Sunnex)

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