TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, Philippines – Two fishermen from San Policarpo town in Eastern Samar have turned over to the police nine bricks of cocaine with an estimated street value of P45 million.
The two fishermen were the latest to turn over the cocaine as the Eastern Visayas police continue their effort to recover bricks of cocaine dumped by a foreign vessel off the waters of Eastern Samar in December 2009.
The nine bricks of cocaine were “voluntarily surrendered” to the Policarpo police last Thursday by Gregorio Gabilan, 44 of Barangay Alugan, and Wenceslao Monte, 41 of Barangay Cahagwayan, both coastal villages of San Policarpo, some 200m kilometers away from Tacloban City.
Inspector Marciano Moscosa, the chief of police of Policarpo, said in a phone interview Sunday that the fishermen found the bricks of cocaine in the sea last December and hid them hoping to make money out of it.
They got scared, however, as the months went by and decided to give it up to the police, lest they be arrested in the wake of the relentless drive of both police and anti-drug authorities to recover the drug, said Moscosa.
Moscosa said Abilan surrendered six bricks of cocaine while Monte turned over three bricks of the drug.
They decided to turn over the bricks of cocaine that they had found and kept for fear that they would eventually be arrested. We are conducting our operations to recover the cocaine that could still be in possession of some of our fishermen, Moscosa said.
Police authorities have been scouring coastal villages in Eastern Samar in the hope of recovering a still undetermined amount of cocaine that were believed to be still in possession of some fishermen or other persons who have found them in the waters of Samar Island.
Moscosa said the high price of cocaine, estimated to be P5 million a brick, could be the reason why some of those who found them chose to hide them instead of surrendering them to the police authorities.
Several persons have so far been arrested in Cebu and Davao cities for attempting to sell the cocaine that was believed to part of the caché dumped in the waters of Samar.
The homes of a number of fishermen suspected to have kept the drug have also been raided both by the police and agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
PDEA regional director Julius Navales earlier said that mere possession of the illegal drug could land one in jail for the rest of his life.
Chief Supt. Rey Lañada, police regional director in Eastern Visayas, however. issued a directive not to charge anyone voluntarily surrendering cocaine to the police.
He also introduced a reward policy of P1,000 for every brick of cocaine surrendered to authorities.
An estimated one ton of cocaine was believed dumped by a foreign vessel off the waters of Eastern Samar in December 2009.
Meanwhile, the nine bricks of cocaine were immediately turned over by the San Policarpo police station to their provincial police headquarters in Borongan City, Moscosa said.
The drugs, in turn, will be turned over to the regional office of the PDEA for burning.
By Joey A. Gabieta
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