38,500 marijuana plants busted in Tampakan mining tenement

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 22 Oct) – At least 38,500 mature marijuana plants with an estimated street value of P7.7 million were destroyed by authorities, an official said Tuesday.

Law enforcers burn mature marijuana plants discovered in the borders of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Davao del Sur province. (Photo courtesy of PDEA-12)

The busted marijuana plantations were discovered in the mountains that host Southeast Asia’s largest known undeveloped copper and gold reserve.

Naravy Duquiatan, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency director for Region 12, said the operations involving the police and military first led to the seizure of 27,000 fully grown marijuana worth P5.4 million in the border of Kiblawan in Davao del Sur, Tampakan in South Cotabato and Columbio in Sultan Kudarat.

Gugwelen Macondon and Terso Macondon were able to elude the raiding team during the October 19 noontime operation, Duquiatan said.

At 6 p.m. the same day, another team of operatives conducted an operation in Sitio Alyong, Barangay Danlag in Tampakan and Sitio Lam-alis, Barangay Datalblao in Columbio that resulted to the discovery of 11,500 more mature marijuana plants with an estimated street value of P2.3 million, the official said.

No one was also arrested in the second operation where the suspect was not identified.

Duquiatan said the operatives burned most of the marijuana plants after taking some for laboratory examination and ceremonial burning.

She added the identified suspects will be charged with cultivation of dangerous drugs under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

The marijuana plantations were located in the mines development site of Sagittarius Mines, Inc., operator of the Tampakan project.

This was not the first time that marijuana plantations were busted in the mining tenement of the firm, which has been known to cooperate with authorities to flush out illegal activities within its project area.

But this latest achievement is one of the biggest marijuana hauls in Region 12. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)