By Jeffrey Damicog
Five persons including a suspected illegal drugs trader were arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) during an operation against a drug den in Bulacan.
NBI Director Dante Gierran identified the arrested alleged drug trader as Antonio Lascano Dela Cruz Sr.
Gierran said Dela Cruz was arrested Thursday during an operation conducted by the NBI’s Task Force Against Illegal Drugs (TFAID) in at his fishpond in Taytayin Bukid in Hagonoy, Bulacan at the strength of a search warrant issued by the Manila regional trial court (RTC).
He noted that the suspect, an ex-convict who served 10 years at the New Bilibid Prison for frustrated homicide and was part of the Sigue Sigue Sputnik Gang, had been engaged in the illegal drugs trade since 1980.
Also arrested with Dela Cruz are four persons who were caught engaged in a pot session and were identified as his son Anotonio Jr., Gilbert Montemayor Bondoc, Ralph Cruz Paule, and Jeric Mariano Lascano.
NBI operatives also seized during the operation 11 sachets of methampethemine hydrochloride, locally known as shabu, with an estimated street value of P400,000; shabu paraphernalia; and 13 firearms including twelve-gauge shotgun, browning cal. 9mm, and a bersa mini thunder cal.40 and ammunitions.
Gierran said the operation was conducted after a month-long surveillance.
The NBI chief said the elder Dela Cruz had used his three-hectare fishpond as a cover for his illegal drug trade.
The suspect was also known in the neighborhood as a military colonel because he wore in the area complete military uniform with firearms.
All five suspects were already presented for inquest proceedings before the Department of Justice or violations of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002) and RA 10591 (Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act).