‘Shabu’ in burger triggers closure of SouthCot jail

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/26 March) — Jail authorities have temporarily shut down the South Cotabato Detention and Rehabilitation Center to visitors following a supposed attempt by a visiting minor to sneak in a sachet of suspected metamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu hidden in a hamburger on Monday afternoon.

Felicito Gumapac, acting jail warden, said Tuesday the illegal drug was discovered by a jail guard at around 4:15 p.m. while inspecting a plastic bag containing some hamburgers that was brought by a 13 year-old boy for one of their inmates.

The official said jail guard Alexies Barmido noticed the stashed shabu sachet during a routine search on the boy and his belongings as mandated for all visitors of the facility.

He said the boy was supposedly visiting a relative identified as Jonas Garfin, who is one of the jail’s trustee inmates.

When accosted, Gumapac said the minor pointed to a woman waiting outside the jail as the owner of the packed hamburgers containing the banned drug.

He said the woman, whom he only identified as a former inmate named Cheryl or Che-Che, hastily left the area aboard a motorcycle.

The minor was placed under the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development pending further actions on his case.

Gumapac said they have launched a deeper investigation into the incident and were specifically determining if other inmates are involved in illegal drug activities inside the facility.

He refused to make a conclusion regarding the alleged involvement of one of their trustees, saying it could just be part of a plot to discredit the latter.

“He has made enemies with other inmates because of his activities as our trustee,” Gumapac said without elaborating.

On the foiled smuggling of the alleged shabu, he acknowledged that there had been numerous rumors regarding such activity at the facility.

“We’ve been conducting thorough inspections on all our visitors so I don’t think a similar activity had gone unnoticed before. We’re not sleeping on our jobs and this is a proof to that,” he said.

Gumapac added that they temporarily suspended the visitor’s privileges of all inmates for this week to facilitate their investigation. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)