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Manila police operatives seized P100 million worth of shabu from two alleged members of a drug syndicate in an entrapment operation in Binondo district early yesterday morning.
Backed by members of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), anti-illegal drug operatives of Manila Police District Station 11 arrested Albert Gasingan, 36, and Rommel Rodriguez, 38, both residents of Parañaque City.
The duo, allegedly members of the “Binondo Connection” drug syndicate were presented to the media by National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO) Director General Oscar Albayalde and MPD director Senior Supt. Joel Coronel.
Coronel said Gasingan and Rodriguez were arrested after another drug suspect who was arrested last October 26 implicated them in the illegal drug trade.
Coronel said that they recovered 15 kg of sodium hydrochloride and five more kilos of, all worth P50 million, during that October 26 operation on Masangkay Street, also in Binondo.
Based on police report, police collared Gasingan and Rodriguez after they agreed to sell P300,000 worth of shabu to a police poseur-buyer around 4:30 a.m. on Tambakan Street.
Authorities said that they were about to arrest the suspects when they saw 20 kilogram of shabu inside the Mitsubishi Mirage (MJ 6096) of the suspects.
The packs of shabu with a street value of R100 million were place inside a black grey luggage bag, police said.
“Nakalagay sa plastic (resealable), na binalutan ng carbon paper saka ibinalot sa foil ‘yung mga shabu na inilagay sa maleta. Kaya mapapansin n’yo na marumi ‘yung plastic. Parang galing sa ibang bansa ito at dinala lang dito sa Pilipinas. Bine-verify pa natin yan. O baka ibibiyahe rin ito sa abroad para hindi ma-detect ng X-ray machine,” Albayalde said.
Police also recovered a .45-caliber pistol and the marked money used in the operation.
Authorities said that they are also looking into the possible role of Gasingan and Rodriguez in the killings of Barangay Chairman Enrique Echales, of Barangay 296 in Binondo last October 13, and Chinese national Hua Tian Shi alias “Andy Sy” on September 17.
“Malawak ang operasyon ng sindikato nito (Rodriguez and Gasingan). Sila rin ‘yung sinasabing suspek sa pagpatay kina barangay chairman Echales at Andy Sy,” Albayalde said.
Police probers are conducting follow-up investigation to trace the whereabouts of the other members of the syndicate, including one alias “Tsekwa” who was included in MPD Station 11 drugs watchlist.
Cases for violation R.A. 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002) and R.A. 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Law) will be filed against the suspects before the City Prosecutor’s Office. (ANALOU DE VERA)