BAUKO, Mountain Province – A suspected member of a syndicate operating a large marijuana distribution network in Luzon was arrested while marijuana and hashish oil valued at P12 million were seized in an interdiction operation conducted by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Police Regional Office-Cordillera here last Friday.
PDEA Regional Director Gil Castro identified the suspect as Rexton Bangang of Sadanga, this province.
Castro said 99 kilos of marijuana in brick form and 60 milliliters of hashish oil were recovered from the suspect loaded in his Toyota Tamaraw FX.
Castro said Bangang was intercepted during a follow-up operation thru the land transportation interdiction unit, a new technology being used in a police checkpoint against the transport of illegal drugs, after members of a syndicate operating a marijuana distribution network in Northern and Central Luzon were arrested in two separate anti-illegal drug operations last week.
“Actually, this suspect is a third batch na magkakasamang grupo sa magkakasunod na nasakote sa mga police checkpoints, na ang una ‘yung sa Quezon, Isabela, pangalawa ay ‘yung sa Tarlac (The suspect is part of a group whose members were arrested in separate police checkpoints in Isabela and Tarlac),” Castro said.
Last Thursday, six members of the syndicate were arrested in a buy-bust operation in Concepcion, Tarlac. Seized from them were P18.96-million worth of marijuana bricks and suspected shabu.
The same day, PDEA-Isabela and the local police arrested their cohorts in a buy-bust operation in Quezon, Isabela. The suspects, Marcelo Tudlong Thomas and Keruben Winnie Banosan, yielded 41 marijuana bricks valued at P5 million and suspected shabu worth P34,000.
Castro said the suspects had been using a different route in transporting their merchandise to evade police checkpoints.
“Alam nilang hindi sila makakalusot sa mahigpit na checkpoint sa Benguet patungong Baguio City, kaya mula sa kanilang pinagkukunan sa Tinglayan, Kalinga ay ini-exploit nila ang route ang Barlig-Tabuk-Quezon, Isabela Road (They know they won’t evade police checkpoints in Benguet going to Baguio City, forcing them to use the Barlig-Tabuk-Quezon, Isabela Road from their supplier in Tinglayan, Kalinga),” he said.