LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 4 (PNA) -— Anti-narcotics lawmen swooped down on a house converted as a drug den in Iriga City, Camarines Sur, and arrested 11 suspected drug users, including five minors, while in the act of sniffing "shabu" (methamphetamine hydrochloride), said a report reaching the Police Regional Office in Bicol (PRO5) Tuesday.
PRO5 spokesperson Senior Insp. Ma.Luisa Calubaquib said the suspects were placed under surveillance before their arrest in the house in Barangay (village) San Francisco, Iriga City around 4 a.m. on Monday.
She said the lawmen seized seven sachets of suspected shabu and four sachets of dried marijuana from the suspects.
Calubaquib identified the suspects as Rosa Dize, 44, allegedly the drug den operator, Shabina Lacap, 21, Michael Olea, 26, all residents of Barangay San Francisco; Maricel Ramboyong, 24, Roberto Lucena III, 20, both residents of Barangay San Jose, Iriga City; and Jonathan Baita, 19, of Barangay San Juan, Baao, Camarines Sur.
There were also five minors arrested, who were identified only by their aliases Wally, Candy and Arianna — all three are 17 years old; Melvin, 15, and Mayla, 13. The five minors are residents of Barangay San Francisco.
Calubaquib said some villagers provided information to the police operatives on the pot sessions in the village.
She said after confirming the reports, joint elements of the Iriga City Police Office, Regional Anti-illegal Drug Special Operation Task Force Group, Provincial Intelligence Branch and Camarines Sur Provincial Public Safety Company under Supt. Alex Pederio conducted the raid.
They presented a search warrant issued by Regional Trial Court Branch 35 Judge Salve Eva Villareal-Dimabayao.
Chief Supt. Melvin Ramon Buenafe, PRO5 regional director, in an interview, said they are optimistic they can attain the six-month time frame given by President Rodrigo Duterte to eradicate the illegal drug problem, especially in some areas in the Bicol region.
He said the Sorsogon Provincial Police Office headed by Senior Supt. Ronaldo Cabral has arrested the 465 suspects listed in its provincial drug watch list under Project: Double Barrel and Oplan Tokhang.
"They are now concentrating on arresting the ‘new players’ in the drug trade in Sorsogon that were given to them by their informants.
Calubaquib said nearly all the 8,079 listed in the drug watch lists in the Bicol region have been arrested while some had surrendered to police authorities and local government officials.
She said 46,858 drug personalities have surrendered in the Bicol region since July 1, the start of the illegal drug campaign, until Oct. 4, while 62 suspected drug users and pushers were killed during the campaign. (PNA) LAP/GVR/JH/CBD