CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY , Philippines – At least P3.4 million worth of illegal substance was confiscated by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) operatives in a raid in Iligan City Wednesday.
Juvenal Azurin, PDEA regional director for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said half a kilogram of suspected shabu, with an estimated street value of P3.4 million, was seized from personalities dubbed by the agency as the “Iwaram Drug Group.”
Apprehended was Hussien Magandia, a provincial board member of Lanao del Sur, his wife Norhaimah and their son Aktar. Also nabbed was the couple’s son-in-law Amin Dimal, a city councilor in Marawi City.
Aside from the alleged shabu, taken from the suspects were electronic gadgets, various documents, bank records, a Smith and Wesson .38 caliber pistol, several live bullets, and rolls of aluminum foil.
The raiding team was composed of PDEA operatives from Northern Mindanao, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and the agency’s Special Enforcement Service from Manila.
“So far, they are the biggest narco-politicians [we have] arrested,” said PDEA-ARMM regional director Juvenal Azurin during the press conference at the PDEA-10 regional office Wednesday afternoon.
PDEA has identified the suspects as belonging to the “Iwaram Drug Group.”
Azurin said the arrested elected officials were not on Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s original drug matrix since it took PDEA about a year to verify the suspects’ involvement in the illegal drug trade.
Azurin said the illegal substance that was confiscated from the suspects came from inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.
The PDEA official did not name the person responsible for supplying the illegal drugs to the suspects but he said that supplier is a high-level inmate.
From Bilibid, the meth is then travelled by land to Lanao del Sur, he added.
Azurin also confirmed that Norhaimah is the first cousin of Johaira “Marimar” Macabuat, the former mayor Maguing town in Lanao del Sur and suspected drug queen who was on PDEA-10’s watch list.
He said the suspects, considered by PDEA as distributors, used to operate in Lanao del Sur and some parts of Lanao del Norte prior to their arrest.
From these provinces, they distributed the illegal substance to a network of runners and pushers who sell the meth to other areas in Mindanao.
As of this writing, the suspects were detained at the PDEA-10 detention cell awaiting the filing of formal charges.
This writer tried to get the side of the suspects but they refused to give a statement to the media.(davaotoday.com)