By Mike Crismundo
CAMP COL. RAFAEL C. RODRIGUEZ, Butuan City – A total of eight bricks of suspected cocaine worth P51,966,500 were found by fishermen in Dinagat Islands and Surigao del Norte on Wednesday.
Police Brig. Gen. Gilberto DC Cruz, regional director of Northeastern Mindanao Police Regional Office 13 (PRO 13) said the eight bricks of suspected cocaine were recovered by Caraga police in Sitio Dahican, Barangay Helen, Gibosong Islands, in the municipality of Loreto, Dinagat Islands.
Jouie C. Cabantoc found the odd brown brick wrapped in transparent cellophane floating near the lighthouse of said area and was immediately turned over to Barangay Kagawad Ramil L. Marquito who then notified the personnel of Dinagat Islands Provincial Mobile Force.
Fishermen identified as Clyde M Cabe, Benito C Cabantoc, Clark M Cabe, and Joselito D Balbuena reported to Loreto Municipal Police Station (MPS) the suspicious items they found floating at the shoreline at around 5:40 p.m. Loreto PNP immediately responded and recovered seven sealed bricks of cocaine.
Also on Wednesday, at around 2:30 p.m. Edgar Moreno, 43, of Purok 1, Barangay Abad Santos, Sta. Monica, Surigao del Norte turned-over a brick of cocaine to Sta. Monica Police. Moreno told authorities that while he was fishing, he found a rectangular object wrapped in black cellophane floating near his boat.
Moreno said he unwrapped the package to see what was inside and found the white substance that looked like cocaine and reported this immediately to the police.
The recovered items were turned-over to Regional Crime Laboratory Office 13. They tested positive on the presence of ‘cocaine’ having a weight of 9,805 grams with an estimated market value of P51,966,500.
On February 12, 2019, 37 bricks of cocaine weighing 48.825 kilos with a market value of P244.1 million were found in Cagdianao, Dinagat Islands. On February 14-15, 2019 in San Isidro, Surigao del Norte, 40 bricks of cocaine weighing 40 kilos with a value of P212 million with the same markings were also recovered.
On February 24, 2019 in Tandag, Surigao del Sur, 34 bricks of cocaine weighing 43.62 kilos worth P231 million were also recovered and on April 7, 2019 in Burgos, Surigao del Norte, 40 bricks of cocaine weighing 48.575 kilos with a value of P257.4 million was also found.
PRO 13 had already collected a total of 160 bricks of cocaine weighing190.825 kilos and market value of P946.4 million in just a few months.
Brig. Gen. Cruz told The Manila Bulletin on Friday that PRO 13 is continuously calling on all residents in Caraga region, particularly those residing along the coastline communities, to remain alert and immediately report to the authorities any suspicious items they may find washed ashore or floating in the sea.
“Your involvement in our anti-illegal drugs, law enforcement operations and preservation of peace and order continue to inspire us in carrying out our mandate as provided for by law to fight illegal drugs with utmost respect for human rights,” Cruz said.