GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 23 Oct) – Anti-drug operatives arrested a dismissed police officer previously assigned in this city and another civilian in a buy-bust operation in nearby Polomolok town in South Cotabato on Tuesday night.
Agent Vince Lachica, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Region 12 public information officer, identified the suspects as former Police Officer 2 Arnold Sua and live-in partner Cheryl Yap, both residents of Barangay Poblacion in Polomolok town.
He said the two were nabbed at around 6:30 p.m. at their residence along Pioneer Street in Poblacion after allegedly selling a sachet of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu to a PDEA agent who posed as a buyer.
A succeeding raid conducted on the house by elements of PDEA South Cotabato special enforcement group and the Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion yielded two more sachets of shabu, several drug paraphernalia, P500 marked money, a caliber .45 handgun and a hand grenade, he said.
Lachica said the illegal drugs, which weighed around five grams and with estimated Dangerous Drugs Board or DDB street value of P3,250, were recovered at the couple’s room.
The official said they earlier got wind of the couple’s illegal activities based on a tip from an informant from the area.
He said their agents immediately verified the matter and later decided to conduct casing and surveillance operations on the suspects.
“We have long been tracking down the activities of these suspects and we finally had the chance (on Tuesday night) to launch the operation and arrest them,” he said on the phone.
In a video footage of the raid aired over a local television station on Wednesday morning, Sua claimed that the buy-bust operation did not happen and denied owning the recovered shabu.
He admitted that he is a shabu user but not a drug peddler.
But Lachica said the buy-bust operation and the raid were witnessed by local officials and several reporters.
“They (couple) actually helped each other out when they sold the shabu to our agent,” he said.
Lachica said the couple, who are detained at the PDEA-12 headquarters at Camp Fermin Lira here, have yielded positive of using shabu in a drug test conducted by the agency.
He said the suspects will be charged for violation of Sections 5 and 6 of Republic Act (RA) 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act on Wednesday afternoon before the South Cotabato Provincial Prosecutor’s Office in Koronadal City.
Section 5 of RA 9165 relates to the “sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of dangerous drugs and/or controlled precursors and essential chemicals” while Section 6 concerns the “maintenance of a den, dive or resort.”
Sua, who was previously assigned at the Lagao police station here, was dismissed by the Police Regional Office 12 last month after turning positive of using shabu in a drug test conducted in July by the city police’s scene of crime operations (Soco) unit.
The drug test was made following his involvement in a controversial operation last July 10 that led to the killing of criminology student Randy Quirante, whom police have mistaken as a motorcycle theft suspect.
The National Bureau of Investigation had filed murder charges against Sua and three other policemen for the student’s killing.