By Martin Sadongdong
Two Cameroonian men and their Filipina cohort were arrested in an entrapment operation in a posh hotel in Makati City Thursday night over their alleged involvement in “black dollar” scam, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) disclosed.
NCRPO Director Guillermo Eleazar identified the apprehended suspects as Samuel Djumba, 47 and Patian Libukan, 36, both from the Central African country of Cameroon but presently residing in Mandaluyong City; and Sarah Miranda, 47, of Caloocan City.
Eleazar said operatives of the NCRPO-Regional Special Operations Unit (RSOU) entrapped the suspects based on the complaint of businessman Delozcarlos Cruz, 53, of Barangay Pag-asa, Quezon City.
Citing a police report, Eleazar said the suspects fraudulently obtained money from their would-be victims by falsely claiming that a piles of banknote size papers stored in a money safe were actual US dollar bills which were dyed with an “almost unwashable” ink to avoid detection from authorities.
The suspects then persuaded their victims to buy from them the chemicals which could supposedly wash off the dye with a promise of a 50-percent share in the total proceeds of the “cleaned” money.
Cruz told police that after Miranda proposed to him the “business investment,” the suspect then introduced him to Djumba and Libukan to teach him how to actually “wash” the defaced US dollar bills.
He said the suspects asked to meet him in a hotel in Makati Avenue corner Kalayaan Avenue and produce USD 50,000 or P2.7 million in exchange of the training, the chemicals and a promise that his “investment money” would be tripled once the money are cleaned.
Instead, Cruz reported to police the intelligence information and he became their asset to entrap Djumba, Libukan and Miranda, leading to the arrest of the three around 8:55 p.m. of September 6.
Police confiscated from the suspects 199 pieces of fake US dollar bills, five pieces of ink-stained and fake dollars, four cellphones, a bundle of white paper, a black garbage bag full of white powder, a bundle of black paper with the size of a US dolar bill, a bottle of betadine, a liquid soap, a shampoo, a syringe, an ultra-violet (UV) flashlight and a backpack.
Eleazar said the confiscated fake dollar bills were submitted to the Currency Issue and Integrity Office of the Central Bank of the Philippines for verification.
He also urged other victims of the group to surface and file a complaint against the suspects to strengthen the case against them.
The suspects were brought to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City for detention while charges for violation of Article 315 or syndicated estafa in relation to Article 168 or illegal possession and use of false treasury or bank notes and other instrument of credit under the Revised Penal Code will be filed against them before the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office.