“If you’re going to kick authority in the teeth, you might as well use two feet.” Keith Richards
By Alex P. Vidal
We were not surprised by the reported seizure of some P7-million worth of shabu (methamphetamine chloride) stuffed inside 20 pairs of shoes and sandals and shipped via LBC from Luzon to Bacolod last June 9.
The amount of the recovered illegal substances shows a big group is behind the deal, and it must have crippled their operations for this school opening.
If it is about a kilo, the target market could be not only in Bacolod City, but also in other component cities and municipalities in Negros Occidental. If the P7-million worth of shabu was not intercepted, God knows how much damage it would have inflicted on the youths in Negros and how many crimes would it have caused.
This trick by some drug traffickers of using private courier services is not new. We have heard of similar incidents in the past not only in Western Visayas, but also in Metro Manila.
Drugs were also kept inside toys, books, cloths, frames, etcetera. The system, for a while, has worked wonders for the syndicates as some private courier services don’t have special machine detectors to intercept illegal substances hidden in the declared stuffs.
Drug transactions are also sometimes done via door-to-door; meaning the consignees get the illegal substance directly from the senders through private courier services that are not supposed to be detected by police authorities.
But the arrest of “drug distributor” (that’s what the PDEA calls the suspect) Edgardo Justo, 36, also known as Ray Roman of Brgy. Sta. Cruz, Murcia happened because, sources said, someone privy to the deal had tipped off the PDEA, which was still confirming reports that the syndicate also used other private service couriers in the past.
The rat could be part of the well-entrenched syndicate operating in Region 6 and he must now be working with the PDEA.
Justo was cornered not after receiving the sandals and shoes, but during the buy bust operation that followed later. This means that door-to-door shipment of illegal drugs could have been progressing also in other parts of the country even before Justo was busted.
The shabu bust, the biggest in Western Visayas in recent years, was traced to have originated in Muntinlupa’s New Bilibid Prison, police said.
If the report is true, this would confirm fears that some of the country’s most notorious drug lords continue to operate even if they are now detained in “Munti”.
And these transactions would not materialize without the backing of some influential characters in police and military. It was reported most recently that these detained drug lords live like kings and untouchables, and they receive special treatment from jail authorities. They could fake sickness and go to hospitals and stay there for an extended period, and hire high-profile prostitutes while in confinement.
It is common knowledge that some of the most active drug lords in Western Visayas also have links with their cohorts in “Munti”. They were able to establish contacts and forge camaraderie with their partners who are now behind bars because they were themselves former inmates in “Munti.”
PDEA Regional Director Paul Ledesma and his men were still trying to extract more information from Justo in a hope to trace his other accomplices.
We wish Director Ledesma luck.