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Mindanao cops step up drug drive

DAVAO CITY–Authorities have apprehended 66 drug personalities through the joint enforcement of the 10 security forces in the city, while five others were neutralized during a “One Time, Big Time” anti-drug operation here Friday.

The operation was conducted in the 10 barangays in the city identified by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Region 11.

More than P2 million worth of suspected shabu was confiscated by the authorities along with 11 motorcycles, six firearms and two explosives.

PDEA 11 director Adzhar Albani said compared to previous “big time” operations in the city, they have confiscated fewer illegal drugs but have arrested more suspects.

“This is an indication that the volume of illegal drugs here in the city is lesser compared to the previous years,” Albani said.

Meanwhile, a barangay chairman in Iligan City is among the latest casualties of the government’s war against illegal drugs.

Killed by still-unidentified assailants was Roberto Fuentes, chairman of Barangay Saray, an area in Iligan notorious for the proliferation of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu.

A police report said, Fuentes was on board the barangay patrol vehicle late Thursday afternoon when motorcycle-riding suspects fired at him in front of a hardware store along the national highway in Tibanga.

Fuentes succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds to his head and body. He was brought to a nearby hospital but was declared dead on arrival by attending physicians.

According to Iligan City police director, Senior Supt. Leony Roy Ga, Fuentes was on their drug watchlist, although he did not confirm if he was involved in the shabu trade.

The price of shabu in Davao has ballooned to P15,000 per gram, Albani said, since the volume of illegal drugs has decreased since President Rodrigo Duterte took office and waged an anti-drug war that so far has claimed over 7,000 lives.

Albani said Davao City has the most expensive illegal drugs in the entire country.

Davao City Police Office Director Sr. Supt. Alexander Tagum said among the 66 arrested, five were considered high-value drug personalities, including a purok leader. He did not disclose the names of the high-value personalities.

“One of the fatalities was a drug reformist; he already surrendered to the authorities, however he did not stop his illegal doings,” he said.

Mayor Sara Duterte, meanwhile, belied reports that authorities were only targeting the poor in the drug raids. She said most of the apprehended suspects did come from the underprivileged.

“Those low-income families are the most vulnerable to illegal drugs since they can easily tempted by the easy money brought by these illegal drugs,” the mayor said.

Duterte also lauded the authorities, while noting it is impossible to have a zero-crime city because “that is just a utopian dream.”

Task Force Davao, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group 11, Philippine Coast Guard, Maritime 11, PNP Highway Patrol Group, PNP Crime Laboratory 11, Regional Public Safety Battalion 11 and Central 911 were also involved in the “One Time, Big Time” operation.

Topics: Drug personalities , Mindanao police , “One Time , Big Time” anti-drug operation , Davao City
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