P7-million worth of shabu seized in Surigao, minors involved

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews / 18 Sept) – The police in this city seized at least P7-million worth of illegal drugs in a raid Tuesday evening involving suspected drug pushers from Iligan City and Lanao del Norte, whom police believe are using minors as drug couriers.

The arrest came shortly after a search warrant was issued by Judge Eduardo S. Casals of Butuan City.

A total of 190 big sachets of suspected shabu weighing almost a kilo were taken from four persons identified as Alex Saliling, 23, from Iligan City; Norayna Saliling, 22; Nyrma Teves, 22, and Aida Pascan, 21, both from Lanao del Norte.

Insp. Joel D. Cabanes, head of the intelligence unit of the Surigao City police force who spearheaded the arrest, said at least seven minors are also involved in the illegal trade in the city.

The arrest took place at Purok 4, Barangay Lipata here just a few meters away from the Caraga Regional Police Training Center.

Aside from the sachets of shabu, 10 units of cellphones, P44,912 in cash, one laptop, one electronic weighing scale, deposit slips, and log books were seized.

Cabanes told reporters Wednesday afternoon that the suspects were very elusive, renting from one place to another.

He said this group was in their target list. “We finally we got them,” he added.

Cabanes said that based on the bank deposit slips they confiscated, the suspects were able to send P2.1 million to Cebu City and Lanao del Norte just this month.

He did not divulge the name of the recipients, saying he might violate the Bank Secrecy Law.

But Cabanes said he will submit the names to their counterparts in Cebu and Lanao.

He pointed out that during their surveillance period, they found out that the suspects were using minors as couriers of illegal drugs to their clients.

The seven minors aged 7 to 15, he said, are now in the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). But he said that aside from the minors serving as couriers, two infants and two children aged 4 and 5 were also brought to the DSWD because they were at the suspects’ place during the raid.

City Mayor Ernesto T. Matugas thanked the police for doing their best, adding that curbing the illegal drug trade is among his administration’s priorities.

He said that since assuming office in 2010, the police has already conducted 55 arrests. He said he does not hesitate giving additional financial support to the police force so they could run after pushers better.