Drug courier nabbed in Kidapawan

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/20 June) – Authorities arrested a suspected drug courier in a buy-bust operation here before dawn today, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Region 12.

PDEA-12 spokesman Vince Lachica said they confiscated from Teddy Atabelo, 28, 13 sachets of suspected shabu and dried marijuana leaves valued at P13,000.

The arrest of Atabelo reportedly came after the PDEA received information from a concerned citizen from Barangay Balindog.

Atabelo then became the subject of surveillance and monitoring by PDEA agents and other law enforcement agencies.

When one of the agents who posted as buyer was able to purchase from Atabelo, authorities then raided the suspect’s house and caught him doing a pot session.

Atabelo admitted to authorities that a friend he identified only by the alias (Lek-lek) dropped the stocks only last night.

Officials of Barangay Balindog, who immediately went to Atabelo’s house to verify his arrest, were shocked when they learned of his drug trade. Barangay chair Maritess Villanueva was one of the witnesses during the raid that took place around 2:30 a.m.

She confirmed that Atabelo is a resident of her village and that she knows the suspect’s family and relatives to be of good standing in the community.

Atabelo was immediately placed inside the lockup cell of the Kidapawan City PNP for safekeeping while PDEA-12 operatives prepare charges of violation of the Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act against him.

“We have yet to conduct further investigation of the case. We would like to know his cohorts so we could conduct operations against them,” said Lachica.

The arrest of Atabelo, Lachica said, was the second operation the PDEA-12 conducted since last week in North Cotabato.

On Saturday night, they arrested Michael Palmes, 31, from whom they confiscated illegal drugs valued at P20,000. (Malu Cadeliña Manar / MindaNews)