BAGUIO CITY– Combined police operatives and anti-narcotics agents were able to arrest some sixty five drug personalities and confiscate over P11.6 million worth of prohibited drugs during the conduct of some 269 anti-drug operations from October 1 to December 6, 2018.

Edgar Apalla, regional director of the Cordillera office of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA-CAR), said that of the 279 anti-drug operations conducted in the different parts of the region in less than two months, 204 were said to be intelligence operations while 65 were negation operations which were done in coordination with the Police Regional Office (PRO), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and other law enforcement agencies.

He added that the series of anti-drug operations regionwide resulted to the filing of a total of 78 cases for different violations under the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs law against the arrested drug personalities.

Among the significant accomplishments of the PDEA during the said period include the arrest of Ryan Ander Espino, a target listed drug personality and the confiscation of shabu weighing more or less 1 gram with a market value of P6,800 on October 18, 2018; the arrest of Jericho John A. Tuazon, a target listed drug personality and Rachel C. Dulos during the implementation of a search warrant and the confiscation of shabu weighing more or less 1.1 gram valued at P6,960 on October 4, 2018; arrest of Rey Ann F. Nonog, a target listed drug personality, and confiscation of shabu weighing more or less 1.9 grams valued at P12,941 on November 8, 2018; arrest of Aristeo Bernardez, an employee of the Department of Public works and Highways (DPWH) in Abra, during the implementation of search warrant and the confiscation of shabu weighing more or less .40 grams valued at P2,736 on November 21, 2018; marijuana eradication on October 6, 2018 at Tulgao West, Tinglayan, Kalinga that resulted in the uprooting and destruction of 21,750 pieces of marijuana plants and marijuana eradication on October 2, 2018 at Bugnay, Tinglayan, Kalinga that resulted in the discovery and destruction of 30,000 grams of marijuana stalks.

On the other hand, the PDEA-CAR official reported to the Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) and the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC-CAR) that 19 drug surrenderers reportedly graduated from the Balay Silangan in Bucay, Abra while a Balay Silangan will be inaugurated in Tayum, Abra in the coming months.

He claimed that though shabu remains to be the preferred drug of abuse in the region, concerned law enforcement and anti-narcotics agencies continue to address the problem on the entry and exit of illegal drugs and processing and cultivation of marijuana plants, thus, the incessant conduct of case build-up operations against personalities involved in the sale and distribution of shabu and continuous conduct of marijuana eradication and interdiction operations in the identified plantation sites and entry and exit points of marijuana produce.

Further, PDEA-CAR recommended for the continuous monitoring of the alleged re-emergence of marijuana plantation sites in Benguet to help deter the proliferation of marijuana plantation sites in the remote villages of the province and achieve the long overdue aspiration of provincial officials for a drug free province in the coming months. (Dexter A. See)