THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency on Wednesday announced the arrest of five suspected drug dealers and the seizure of several firearms, ammunition, drug paraphernalia and 219 grams of what is believed to be methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) placed in six plastic sachets with an estimated street value of P1.7 million (about US $36,170).
PDEA Director General Isidro S. Lapeña said the bust was an offshoot of the agency’s continuing drive against illegal drugs and the syndicates peddling it. He then identified the suspects who were nabbed on July 28, as Jose Antipuesto, Jessie Ocarez, Marcelo Adorco, Ernesto Dumalat and Jeffrey Pesquera. These men are reportedly employed by Albuera municipal Mayor Rolando Espinosa.
Espinosa and his son Kerwin were earlier tagged by President Rodrigo Duterte as a coddlers of a drug syndicate operating in Albuera and were the subject of a shoot on sight order. Espinosa later surrendered but his son remains at large and is believed to be already out of the country.
Lapeña said the suspects were arrested during a buy-bust operation conducted by operatives of PDEA Regional Office 8 in Siitio Tinago, barangay Benolho, Albuera, Leyte. He added that aside from the suspected shabu, the suspects yielded two Glock 21 cal. 45 pistols, 33 pieces of live ammunition for cal. 45, four empty magazines, assorted drug paraphernalia and cash amounting to P23,970.
Antipuesto, Ocarez, Adorco, Dumalat and Pesquera will be charged for violation of Section 5 (Sale of Dangerous Drugs), Section 11 (Possession of Dangerous Drugs) and Section 12 (Possession of Drug Paraphernalia), Article II of Republic Act 9165 (the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002).
Additional charges for violation of RA 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act) will also be filed against them.