ILOILO City – Methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) worth P765,000 was seized from two drug suspects in Purok 5, Barangay San Vicente, Leganes, Iloilo yesterday.
The shabu was intended for disposal this Dinagyang Festival, according to Police Lieutenant Jersey Besas, chief of the Police Regional Office 6’s Regional Drug Enforcement Unit (RDEU) that busted suspects Isagani Basbaño, 47, of Barangay San Lucas, Barotac Viejo, Iloilo and Sheila Mae Alvarez, 33, of Barangay Boulevard, Molo, Iloilo City.
“Imagine kung hindi natin sila nakuha and hindi na-recover ang shabu na para talaga sa Dinagyang, marami pa ang mabibiktima,” said Besas.
Leganes is 10 kilometers north of Iloilo City.
The Dinagyang Festival highlight is on Sunday, Jan. 26 – the crowd-drawing ati tribes competition. But a lot of events are scheduled in the days leading to the highlight and these also attract huge crowds that may include drug users.
Basbaño and Alvarez were taken to the Leganes police station after their arrest.
Besas said it took his men over a week of planning to get the suspects to agree to a drug transaction – sell P35,000 worth of shabu.
The buy-bust was carried out at around 12:10 a.m. at a construction site in Purok 5, Barangay San Vicente, Leganes.
“It was difficult. They only entertained persons known to them. But our asset eventually managed to get their confidence,” said Besas.
He believed the confiscated shabu was from the national penitentiary in Muntinlupa City, Metro Manila.
For drug traffickers, the Dinagyang Festival is a lucrative event. A few days before last year’s festival, nearly a million pesos worth of shabu was seized from a couple from Cebu.
The man and woman were caught in Barangay Rizal Estanzuela, City Proper. They entered Iloilo via a roll on, roll off ship from Cebu.
According to the RDEU, the confiscated shabu was intended for the Dinagyang, citing text messages found in the suspects’ mobile phones./PN