NEW players have joined the illegal drug trade in Cebu to fill the shortage of drug supply coming from the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 7 revealed this during the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) meeting at the Capitol yesterday, where authorities also discussed new tricks of drug operators.
One trick involves using banks and Viber.
To avoid being detected, drug dealers now course payments through banks,making it difficult for the police to conduct buy-busts.
But PDEA 7 Regional Director Yogi Ruiz said that with the cooperation of banks, suppliers are now identified and traced.
“We deposit the payment in the bank, take photo of the deposit slip and send the photo to the supplier via Viber,” he said, referring to their drug poseur or test buyer transacting with these new drug players.
Viber is phone messaging app that lets users send text, photos and video messages.
PDEA 7 is among those that presented its drug status report in Cebu during the third quarter PPOC meeting.
The police also reported that the total crime volume from January to August 2016 dropped by 10.93 percent compared to the figures from the same period in 2015.
Index crime, or those committed against persons and properties, dropped by 17 percent, while non-index crimes reduced by 8.34 percent, said Cebu Provincial Police Office Director Jose Macanas.
Non-index crimes are the results of police-initiated operations to enforce special laws, such as those on illegal drugs, gambling, loose firearms, and the environment.
The total crime volume in the province from January to August 2015 was 12,855 and 2016 saw a total crime volume of 11,424.
The total number of index crime for the same period 2015 was 4,152 and for the same period 2016, there were only 3,444 index crimes.
As for non-index crime, 8,706 were recorded in the first eight months last year, and only 7,980 in the same period this year.
“Crime and illegal drugs are interrelated. With our aggressive stance to curb prohibited drugs in consonance with our President’s thrust to eradicate drug menace, the CPPO index crime dropped,” the CPPO said in its report.
Ruiz of PDEA 7 said the price of shabu suddenly shot up due to the aggressive campaign against illegal drugs.
As the supply of illegal drugs decreased, the price increased from P1,300 to P1,500 per gram to P2,500 per gram, he said.
“Because there is a shortage of drug from the New Bilibid Prison, there is a possibility that new players may come in and take advantage of the situation,” Ruiz said.
He said the drug supply now comes from Mindanao and independent players who are not from the NBP.
Ruiz said that at the peak of the operations of alleged drug lords inside the NBP, they supplied 80 percent of the illegal drugs sold in Central Visayas, according to the PDEA 7 official.
“If Bilibid was supplying 80 percent of the drugs in Region 7, more or less the decrease is also around those figures, at 80 percent,” he said.
But with new players coming in, a conservative estimate would be a decrease in the supply by about 60 to 70 percent, Ruiz said.
Even transactions are now harder, as dealers now want 40 to 50 percent of the payment to be deposited in the bank, and the balance will be deposited once the drugs are picked up or delivered.
“We have the cooperation of financial institutions,” Ruiz said.
He said they also have the capability to monitor and trace the drug dealers with the help of these institutions.
Luz, Cebu City
Meanwhile, the crime statistics in Cebu continues to rise with the arrest of four suspected drug pushers, including a working college student, who were caught in separate operations in Cebu City and Moalboal.
Two suspected drug pushers were caught by operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) 7-Metro Cebu in a buy-bust in Barangay Luz, Cebu City at 11:20 a.m. yesterday.
Rizande Rabusa Telebango and Joejen Olimba Carredo were collared by the team led by Supt. Fermin Armendarez III, the CIDG 7 assistant director.
Seized from them were 45 grams of white crystals believed to be shabu worth P180,000, drug paraphernalia, and the marked P1,000 bill placed atop a pile of cut-up papers.
Armendarez said the suspects are level two drug pushers who can dispose of 200 grams of shabu per week.
Their source, a certain Jer, is based in Pasil.
Tejero, Cebu City
At 12:15 a.m. yesterday, the Regional Special Operations Group 7 operatives arrested the 23-year-old girlfriend of their target drug pusher in Barangay Tejero, Cebu City.
The girlfriend is a working student taking up education. She told the police that she is not involved in selling drugs but her boyfriend Algen Arquisal is.
The operatives confiscated 10 grams of shabu worth P118,000 repacked in small sachets.
When he noticed that he was transacting with policemen, Arquisal jumped from the window and fled.
In Barangay Poblacion West, Moalboal, a 35-year-old man who surrendered last month and promised to stop selling drugs was arrested by the police Wednesday night for transporting shabu.
Senior Insp. Narciso Abapo, the town police chief, seized from suspect Allan Redoble Sabac Jr. 22 sachets of shabu worth more than P15,000.
Abapo said they caught Sabac throwing a package to the ground while they were patrolling the area.
Complaints for violating Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, will be filed against the suspects.