A drug suspect considered as a “high-value target” (HVT) was arrested along with his four police cohorts in a buy-bust operation at a house where an alleged factory of crystal methamphetamine or “shabu” was being operated in Subic Bay Freeport Zone, part of Olongapo City, shortly after Friday midnight.
A report reaching Camp Crame, Quezon City identified the suspects as Jerico Dabu, a civilian; Police Lieutenant Reynato Basa Jr., and Police Corporals Gino Dela Cruz, Edesyr Alipio, and Godfrey Parentela. The cops are all assigned at the Drug Enforcement Unit of the Olongapo City Police Station 2.
Initial investigation showed that the suspects were apprehended by the authorities in a kitchen-type laboratory where Dabu was staying at No. 366-B, Finback, West Kalayaan, Subic, Olangapo City around 12:30 a.m.
Composite units of the Philippine National Police (PNP) led by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), and in coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), conducted the operation near Dabu’s house where a police poseur-buyer managed to buy 300 grams of suspected shabu, the report said.
After the confirmed deal, the back-up units swooped in and tried to capture Dabu.
The suspect went to the house where the laboratory was set-up to evade arrest but he was eventually caught by the authorities along with the four cops.
Police Brigadier General Ildebrandi Usana, PNP spokesperson, said Dabu was a member of a group engaged in maintaining illegal drug laboratories that caters to its customers in Central Luzon and Metro Manila.
The group, allegedly headed by a Canadian national, has Australian, European, American-Chinese, and Filipino members.
“The group is categorized as OCG [organized criminal group] considering that they have unlimited financial resources and contact persons as protectors. The raw materials are reportedly imported from other countries which were inserted in the legal shipments to mislead the authorities,” he said.
He noted that the police were acting as “protectors” of Dabu so their operations would not be revealed to local authorities.
“Sila po ay nadisarmahan na (They were already disarmed) to facilitate the conduct of an investigation that will lead to the dismissal of the police officers along with the filing of criminal action,” Usana said.
Although Usana initially denied that the facility is a shabu laboratory, he admitted that it was able to produce three to four kilos of crystal meth everyday, which were distributed to their customers.
Aside from the 300 grams of suspected shabu, authorities also seized from the suspects another kilo of suspected shabu, four caliber 9mm pistols, six cellphones, a Honda Civic Sedan with plate number UKM 779, and the marked money.
Usana said a random drug test will be conducted on the members of the Olongapo City Police, particularly on its Drug Enforcement Units (DEUs), to determine if there are more policemen involved in illegal drug activities.
“Marami na nga po ang nadiscover during the random drug test na may mga gumagamit ng (Through random drug tests, we have already discovered many personnel who use) illegal drugs which will lead eventually to their dismissal of these people from the service,” he said.
“Dito sa pangyayari sa Olongapo, most likely may pamamaraan (With the incident in Olongapo, most likely we will have a way to determine whether members of this unit are engaged as well in illegal drugs [use],” he added.
The suspects and the case were turned over to PDEA for further investigation.
Meanwhile, police said a follow-up operation was conducted to arrest the unidentified Canadian national who heads the group.