FIFTY-SIX suspected drug personalities were arrested and more than P8 million worth of illegal drugs were seized by authorities in Metro Cebu on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020.
Some 46 were nabbed by operatives of the Talisay City Police Station during Oplan Limpyo. Seventeen were considered high-value targets (HVTs).
The anti-drug operation started around 3 a.m. in different areas of the city. Their main target was the Obrero Drug Group.
According to police, the group is the biggest drug supplier in Talisay. It also operates in Cebu City and in the neighboring towns.
Police seized 800.53 grams of white crystalline substance with a street value of P5,443,604.
Also seized during the 13 buy-bust operations were three firearms of an undetermined caliber and several drug paraphernalia.
First to fall was Jemely Obrero. He and a companion were arrested in Sitio Sambagan in Barangay Tanke at 3:02 a.m. They yielded 10.3 grams of shabu worth P70,040.
Two hours later, Ryan Paul Soriano was nabbed along with three others in Sitio Nonoc in Barangay Tabunok. Confiscated from them were 95 grams of shabu worth P646,000.
Police caught up with Junel Moron Austria, an HVT, in Barangay Tanke with 595 grams of shabu with a Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) value of P4,046,000.
According to Major Ace Gerard Pelare, chief of the Talisay City Police Station, the Obrero family has been involved in the illegal drug business for some time.
Amalia Padigos Obrero, the mother, calls the shots, he said. She decides who they sell the drugs to.
The family was placed under surveillance before police went after them on Saturday.
“It was a month-long surveillance. We tried to check their down lines. When we conducted simultaneous and synchronized operations, we arrested their underlings. We found that their involvement in the illegal drug business is deep. True enough, it’s the mother who is directing the syndicate,” Pelare said in a mix of Cebuano and English.
The 60-year-old matriarch, who was arrested with her four children and daughters-in-law, denied that her family was in the business of selling drugs.
Amalia said she sells fish in Barangay Pasil in Cebu City. She cut off her ties to the drug trade after police raided her house, which was then used as a shabu den.
She said that during the first days of Oplan Tokhang, she underwent the government’s rehabilitation program even if she was not a drug user.
“I was on my way to Pasil when the police arrived. I decided not to resist arrest,” Amalia said in Cebuano.
Also arrested in Talisay was a pregnant woman due to give birth this month and a 15-year-old girl.
Mayor Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas Jr., who was present while police conducted an inventory on the seized shabu, was happy with the result of the anti-drug operation.
Gullas said his administration will continue to support the police’s war on drugs.
The mayor was also surprised when told that two City Hall employees were arrested in the Obrero house having a drinking session.
In Cebu City, members of the Cebu City Police Office confiscated at least P2 million worth of suspected shabu in two different buy-bust operations at dawn on Saturday.
Major Kenneth Paul Albotra, chief of the San Nicolas Police Station, along with members of the Drug Enforcement Group, arrested several HVTs.
One of them was 18-year-old Jhon Vladimir Cebes, alias Opao, a resident of Purok 3, Barangay Kamputhaw. Cebes, who is on the list of HVTs in the regional level, was nabbed past midnight in Sitio Menulida, Barangay Calamba. Arrested with him was driver Nathaniel Alimorin, 46, a resident of Sitio Bagumbayan, Barangay Tinago.
The San Nicolas Police Station had been monitoring the movements of Alimorin, who was said to be a drug courier.
During the operation, shabu with a DDB value of P1.7 million was seized from the two men.
Several hours later, Albotra’s men conducted a buy-bust in Block 7, Barangay Sawang Calero.
They arrested Randy Demesilio, 32, considered an HVT in the regional level. Shabu worth P918,000 was seized from him.
In Mandaue City, police arrested an HVT and his sidekick. The two men yielded P102,000 worth of suspect shabu during a buy-bust on S.B. Cabahug St. in Barangay Ibabao-Estancia at 2:45 a.m.
The suspects were identified as Rajhie Go, 34, a resident of Ibabao-Estancia, and Kennedy Sebial, 20, a resident of Barangay Panagdait, Cebu City. The operation was led by Lt. Col. Franco Oriol.
Major Mercy Villaro, spokesperson of the Mandaue City Police Office, said both suspects are drug users, but only Go sold illegal drugs.
Go’s involvement in the drug trade had long been known to them, Villaro said, but it was the first time they encountered Sebial.
Villaro said both men were out of work, but Go made a living selling drugs.
During its first operation of the year, agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (Pdea) 7 rounded up members of one family on A. Lopez St. in Barangay Labangon, Cebu City.
Pdea spokesperson Leia Alcantara said they received several complaints against the suspects, which led to the raid on Saturday.
The suspects were identified as Edgar Acalano Magno, 67, who reportedly operated a drug den along with his live-in partner Marilou Abejo Fuentes, 42; Edgar’s brother Eugenio, 63; their youngest brother Manulito, 46; and nephew Ezekiel Comparitivo Roy, 42.
Police confiscated an estimated P81,000 worth of suspected shabu.
Edgar said he was forced to operate a drug den so he could buy his maintenance medicines. He charged drug users P5 as entrance fee.
The arrested suspects will be charged with violating Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. / AYB, BBT, KFD / PJB