Barangay official with illegal drugs arrested
CATARMAN, Northern Samar – A barangay official in Catubig, Northern Samar was put behind bars after the police caught him allegedly in possession of suspected illegal drugs inside a bus in Catarman Monday afternoon.
Garret Lluz y Esponilla, 31, who identified himself to police as a barangay councilor in Purok 5 Catubig town at the second district of this province, was just arriving from Manila aboard a Silver Star bus when operatives of the Provincial Special Operations Group (PSOG) halted him inside the Catarman Bus Terminal around 4:25 Monday afternoon.
Reportedly, the K9 dog of the police has sniffed something in Lluz’s baggage which prompted the authorities to invite the suspect to the Northern Samar Police Provincial Office (NSPPO) for verification of his things.
Inside the NSPPO investigation office and in the presence of Police Provincial Director Senior Superintendent Isaias Tonog and representatives from the provincial prosecutor, barangay officials and media, Lluz volunteered to open his baggage which yielded some sachets of alleged methamphetamine hydrochloride commonly known as “shabu”.
The sachets of “shabu” were found carefully tucked inside a folded shirt from the suspect’s baggage, some of which were wrapped in electrical tapes.
The police inventory list a total of 21 sachets of suspected “shabu” from Lluz’s possession. They also confiscated the shirt, a Samsung mobile phone, a cellphone charger, batteries, memory card adaptors and even the bus ticket of the suspect.
The village councilor, however, denied that the drugs belonged to him.
“Nahimagraw ngani ak nano nga mayaun na sulod nga sugad siton sa akun gamit. Diri ak maaram paano iton nahingada. (I do not even know that there is something like that in my things. I don’t know how it got there.)” Lluz said when interviewed by LSDE.
He implied that somebody must have planted the drugs when he got stranded in Matnog on his way from Manila.
Inspector Joseph Imperial, leader of the SPOG that conducted the raid, revealed that Lluz attempted to run away at the terminal.
“Nagresist po siya, at tumakbo pa nga buti nahabol ng mga tao namin. That only showed po that he is guilty, hindi pa nga namin nasisearch yung gamit nya.” Imperial said.
That same day the councilor was subjected to a drug testing at the NSPPO Police Crime Laboratory Office. He was detained at the NSPPO lockup cell while the police filed for inquest before the provincial prosecutor’s office the following day.
The confiscated illegal drugs were to be transported to the crime laboratory in Calbayog City for validation of its weight and content.
The police are filing charges against barangay councilor Lluz for possession and transport of illegal drugs under Section 5 of Republic Act 9165. (Rachel V. Arnaiz)
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