COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/23 January) – Suspected shabu (crystal meth) with an estimated street value of 3.4 million pesos was seized from a couple during a buy-bust operation Wednesday afternoon at the plaza area in Cotabato City.
Marlon Santos, deputy director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), identified the suspects as Juharie Talib and his wife Bai Racma.
Santos said the suspects, who were aboard a closed-van mini cab, were about to sell the half kilo of shabu to a poseur buyer for 1.2 million pesos.
The substance was estimated to fetch 3.4 million pesos once sold to users.
“It was a buy-bust operation, we worked hard dealing with them since the other day until our agent agreed to make the deal inside the city this afternoon,” he said.
Juharie vehemently denied they were selling illegal drugs.
“I was just tasked to deliver something here and meet a person. I have no idea it’s an illegal drug,” he said.
But authorities doubted Juharie’s claim and noted that he gave them different addresses – Midsayap in Cotabato Province, Parang in Maguindanao and Barira, also in Maguindanao.
Found in his wallet was an identification card indicating he is a platoon commander of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) 105th Base Command.
He admitted being a member of the MILF.
Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi was saddened and irked by what she witnessed.
“So you see, they do the business inside the city. Look who are the perpetrators, they are outsiders,” she said.
“So we found out another member of the MILF. I hope the officers of this organization will conduct disciplinary action to their members. It’s so sad to find out we apprehend people carrying ID’s like this. They just have given by the government a golden opportunity to join this government yet some members are still in this business,” she added.
Von Al Haq, MILF military spokesperson who currently serves as a minister of BARMM said they have yet to verify from their base command if Juharie is indeed a member of the group. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews)