CORDILLERA policemen on Monday hauled to jail a van driver and his 15 student-passengers, two of them
Filipino-American citizens and one Nigerian national, for illegal transport of dried marijuana leaves
in Sabangan, Mountain Province, Cordillera police director Chief Supt. Elmo Francis O. Sarona reported
The official said that the arrests were made shortly after the Sabangan Municipal Police
Station received an information that a white Hi-Ace Grandia with conduction sticker A2-N747 which is
on its way to Baguio City from Sabangan town is loaded with a huge volume of marijuana.
Sarona said police set up a checkpoint on the national road in Sitio Todey, Poblacion,
Sabangan and later flagged down the vehicle being driven by Bayani Malang, 54, of Nijaga, Tondo,
Four of his passengers were minors while the rest were identified as Tondo residents Ricky
Perez, Marvin Garza, Miko Miranda, Jaymar de La Cruz, all 18; Ezekiel Tiu, 20, Mark Sarmiento, 21,
Niko Cwaling Yumol, 21, all of Tondo; Jireh Rose de la Cruz, 19, of Montalban, Rizal; Abigail del
Fierro, 23, a college graduate from New Jersey, USA residing in Project 6, Quezon City; Nneka
Anastasia Okonkwo, 23, a Nigerian national residing in San Fernando City, La Union; and Stephanie
Gapuz, 27, a Fil-Am citizen from Carpenter Avenue, Plainfield, Illinois currently residing in San
Sarona said that during visual search, officers smelled marijuana inside the vehicle,
prompting them to conduct a routine inspection which led to the discovery of one transparent
cellophane containing some 50 grams of dried marijuana leaves found in the bag of one of the students.
He said the students refused to open the bags at the back compartment of the vehicle,
prompting the policemen to apply for a search warrant from a local court.
On Tuesday, policemen armed with a search warrant for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the
Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 searched the baggage of the passengers which yielded 56
dried marijuana bricks, four bundles of marijuana stalks and one plastic bag of pulverized marijuana.
The amount of the confiscated cannabis is still being determined as of press time.
The pieces of evidence were brought to the Regional Crime Laboratory Office for examination