An estimated P700,000 worth of cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana were seized by antidrug operatives in separate buy-bust operations from four suspects in the Mandaluyong City and Quezon City on Thursday.
Agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) arrested suspected drug pusher Lester Almalbez, 35, of Princeville Condominium on Laurel St., Brgy. Pleasant Hills, Mandaluyong City; and Herald Peñaflor, 26, the alleged drug supplier.
Seized from them were around P600,000 worth of cocaine, ecstasy tablets and bottles of ecstasy following a buy-bust and entrapment operation on Thursday evening.
In his report, PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said agents of PDEA-Special Enforcement Service (PDEA-SES) led by its director Levi Ortiz arrested Almalbez and Peñaflor inside the Princeville Condominium.
Ortiz said Almalbez was the source of liquid ecstasy while Peñaflor was the source of cocaine. Both get their supplies from the National Bilibid Prison, Ortiz added.
Ortiz said they first arrested Almalbez around 9 p.m. inside the condominium but Peñaflor escaped. At around 5 a.m., Peñaflor was nabbed along Makati Avenue.
Confiscated from the suspects were liquid ecstasy placed inside 20 energy drink bottles, 1.6 liters of liquid ecstasy, with an estimated street value of P480,000; 70 pieces of ecstasy tablet worth P46,000; and six packs of cocaine worth P140,000. These amount to P666,000, the agency said.
In Quezon City, police seized from two men around P100,000 worth of cocaine, ecstasy pills and kush, or high-grade marijuana, in a drug bust on Thursday.
The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) identified the suspects as Merhan Jahiron, 28, and Jovan Cariño, 20.
Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, QCPD director, said Jahiron and Cariño were arrested around 10:30 p.m. at a gas station at the corner of E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue and D. Tuazon Street in Barangay Doña Josefa.
Authorities seized two plastic bags of cocaine, 21 ecstasy tablets and four plastic sachets of kush from the suspects.
More potent marijuana
In a press briefing on Friday, Eleazar said kush was a more potent type of marijuana grown only in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
He added that the dried marijuana leaves were most likely smuggled from these countries.
Jahiron and Cariño work as local distributors to high-end clients.
He noted that the operation was an offshoot of the drug bust last Dec. 31, along Timog Avenue, which led to the arrest of Nina Recio and three other suspects.
The operation yielded around P1 million in party drugs, including cocaine and liquid ecstasy.
Recio was reportedly the former live-in partner of Raul Anthony Cisneros, a retired intelligence officer of the US Air Force, who was nabbed in his Taguig City condominium in September 2016.
Cisneros allegedly supplied party drugs to several high-end bars in Makati City and Taguig City.
Eleazar said Recio, Cisneros and the two recently arrested suspects had only one supplier.
“We will still trace how the kush was able to enter the country,” Eleazar said, noting that they were coordinating with the Bureau of Customs on the issue.
Chief Insp. Ferdinand Mendoza, chief of the district drug enforcement unit, said Jahiron and Cariño used social media to obtain and sell drugs, and that the payment was deposited to the bank accounts of the drug lords.
“Their market is usually wealthy families, where a single transaction can be a minimum of P20,000,” Mendoza said.
He also noted that the high-grade marijuana costs P3,000 per tea bag, which contained around two grams. Regular marijuana sells for around P700 per gram.
Jahiron and Cariño faced charges in violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.