AN estimated P5.8 million worth of fully-dried marijuana leaves and stalks were intercepted by combined agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Cordillera Police Regional Office who were manning a checkpoint in Benguet, PDEA Director General Isidro S. Lapeña announced yesterday.
The official said two men carrying an estimated P1.4 million worth of the banned crops, identified as Emil Garcia, a 23-year old resident of Barangay Sapdaan in Santol, La Union; and Leo Balang, 24, of Sitio Ocgao, Bgy. Badeo, Kibungan, Benguet were arrested during the first operation.
Lapeña said that officers accosted the two in Sitio Lomon in Bgy. Paykek, Kapangan municipality while onboard a motorcycle. When inspected, the duo yielded the big volume of marijuana and were promptly placed under arrest.
Last Monday, the same group of officers also arrested 13 people while attempting to sneak in around 103 kilograms of marijuana worth around P4.4 million in the same area.
Lapeña said that recovered from the suspects were 44 marijuana bricks, 18 marijuana stalks in tubular form and all weighing approximately 103 kilograms as well as a backpack containing P500,000 in cash.
The vehicles of the suspects composed of one Toyota Fortuner with plate number UZI-267, one Hyundai Accent with conduction sticker MQ-4127, one Motorstar motorcycle with plate number 3721-SZ and one Toyota Tamaraw FX with plate number TRK-542 were all impounded.
All arrested suspects are now facing non-bailable charges for violation of Section 5 (Transportation of Dangerous Drugs), Article II of Republic Act 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.