Three suspected remnants of the “Boratong” drug syndicate yielded some P6.8 million worth of shabu during a police buy-bust operation in Mandaluyong City, Monday night.
Police identified the suspects as Raihana Pontino, Aliola Sultan and Jassir Panggaga.
Mandaluyong City Police chief Colonel Moises Villaceran Jr. said the three suspects were connected to the drug syndicate headed by convicted shabu flea market operator Amin Imam Boratong.
It can be recalled that Buratong was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2009 for operating the infamous “shabu tiangge” in Pasig City. He is currently locked up at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.
“They are the remnants of the Buratong drug syndicate in Pasig City before,” Villaceran said in an interview.
The suspects’ illegal drug operation covers Pasig City, Cainta town in Rizal province and some parts of Metro Manila as well, Villaceran said.
“But their main operation is in between Pasig City and Rizal province,” the police chief noted.
Police said the suspects had been the target of several illegal drug operations in Pasig City, but they managed to elude arrest.
Police Major General Guillermo Eleazar, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director, said Buratong remains the leader of a drug syndicate despite his imprisonment.
Members of the NCRPO Regional Drug Enforcement Unit, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Mandaluyong City Police nabbed the suspects on Shaw Boulevard at around 11:25 p.m.
Police said the transaction between the suspects and the undercover cops was supposed to be made in Cainta.
However, the suspects changed their minds several times before settling for Shaw Boulevard as their agreed meeting place.
The drug deal occurred inside a parked Toyota Revo ( XGP-331) near a gasoline station.
The back-up team effected the arrest after the suspects accepted the P880,000 marked money.
When the arresting team searched the vehicle driven by the suspects, they found 10 more plastic packs in it, each containing 50 grams of shabu.
In total, police seized a kilo of crystal meth from the suspects, said.
Eleazar said the “sneaky” suspects had long been the subjects of intelligence operations which continued to evade the authorities until Monday.
“Matagal na silang subject ng operasyon pero hindi natutuloy. At last, kanina naconsumate itong ano na ito kasama ang Mandaluyong Police Station. Ang subject ay five hundred grams worth P880,00 ang initial na usapan. After [operation], nakakuha pa ng kalahating milyon,” Eleazar narrated.
Eleazar also bared that Pontino had been arrested in Pasig City due to possession of illegal drugs and illegal possession of firearms.
“Nakapyansa lang pero kasamang na-file-an ng kaso,” he said.
However, Pontino denied she was a drug dealer, claiming she was only paid P2,000 by an acquaintance to deliver the items placed in a paper bag at the designated location.
Eleazar did not buy the alibi of Pontino since it was the same alibi she used when arrested before.
“With the arrest, malaking kabawasan ito ng network sa Metro Manila but we need to find out ang pinagkukuhaan at pinagdadalhan pa nila,” he said.
“Kung makikita, ganito ang pag-repack, kasama ito sa nakalagay sa Chinese tea bags na nakuha natin sa dalawa o tatlong grupo during our previous operations,” he added.
Eleazar was referring to the P7 million worth of shabu placed in Chinese tea bags that were seized from three suspected drug couriers in an operation on Vito Cruz St. corner Osmena Highway in Manila on June 10; and the P10 million worth of shabu obtained from a drug suspect in Pateros on May 28.
In June 2018, the NCRPO also made a big haul when they recovered P24 kilos of shabu worth P163 million in an operation in Santa Ana, Manila. The drugs were placed too in Chinese tea bags.
Recovered from the three suspects were 15 large transparent sachets of suspected shabu with a total weight of at least a kilogram. Police said it has an estimated street value of P6.8 million.
Charges for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 will be filed against the suspects, police said. (Jhon Casinas, Martin Sadongdong)