June 27, 2017| Tuesday
Agents seized P2.5 million worth of shabu from two traffickers arrested late Sunday in Barangay Pinaring in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.
Suspects Jojet Sapal and Abdulfatah Mamalinta are now detained at the office in Cotabato City of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PDEA-ARMM), awaiting prosecution for violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.
They fell together in an entrapment laid Sunday by agents of PDEA-ARMM and personnel of the Maguindanao provincial police using mobile phones confiscated from their two accomplices, the spouses Datukan and Fatima Salik, who were arrested a day before in a shopping mall in Cotabato City.
Using the couples' phones, PDEA-ARMM agents managed to dupe Sapal and Mamalinta into selling P2.5 million worth of shabu to buyers waiting for them in Barangay Pinaring in Sultan Kudarat.
The unsuspecting duo was nabbed while in the act of turning over their illegal merchandise to agents disguised as drug dependents.
The combined PDEA-ARMM and police team that carried out the arrest also recovered from them a .45-cal pistol each.
Juvenil Azurin, director of PDEA-ARMM, on Monday said that they will also be charged with violating Republic Act 10591, which bans the carrying of unlicensed firearms anywhere in the country.
Azurin said he is thankful to the Sultan Kudarat municipal police, to Maguindanao’s provincial police director, Senior Supt. Agustin Tello, and the Police Highway Patrol Group-ARMM for helping in the operations that neutralized the drug ring operated by Salik and his wife, Fatima, and their accomplices Sapal and Mamalinta.
Biggest haul since martial law
The volume of shabu confiscated from them is PDEA-ARMM’s largest haul from a single group operating in the neighboring Cotabato City and Maguindanao since President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire Mindanao under martial law last May 23.
The martial law was declared in connection with the trouble in Marawi City instigated by Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists claiming allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
The PDEA-ARMM and the Maguindanao provincial police have arrested in an expanded continuing crackdown since May 23 more than 20 large-scale drug traffickers running intricate shabu distribution networks with contacts in the 37 barangays in Cotabato City and in Maguindanao’s 37 towns.
A number of undocumented firearms, including assault rifles, and no less than P15 million worth of shabu were recovered in the joint police-PDEA operations the past four weeks in both areas alone.
Azurin said PDEA-ARMM is grateful to members of the Cotabato City peace and order council, led by Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi, for supporting their law-enforcement activities.
“The PDEA and the police cannot easily put drug peddlers behind bars without the support of local officials and patriotic barangay folk in areas where we operate,” Azurin said