8 tourists arrested for P20M marijuana in Bontoc

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BONTOC, Mountain Province – Eight alleged drug couriers posing as tourists, including an Army reservist and a 7-year old minor, were arrested by combined police operatives and anti-narcotics agents after having found in their possession close to P20 million worth of marijuana during separate operations at Caluttit, here Saturday night.

At around 9:15PM of March 7, 2020, operatives conducted a checkpoint along Lower Caluttit, Bontoc, Mountain Province and were able to found 145 pieces of marijuana bricks and in tubular forms worth P 16,080,000.00 enclosed in cartons/big boxes boarded in a black Chevrolet vehicle with 5 individuals including a minor. The four individuals, Joseph Petilona, 35, resident of Angeles, Pampanga; Mark Kevin Guzman, 21, resident of Quezon City; Niño Acio, 25, resident of Tabon, Angeles City; and Princess Guma, 18, resident of Anunas, Angeles City were arrested and the minor aged 7 was rescued. Other pieces of evidence confiscated from the suspects were 1 Czech Republic (mm Pistol; brown holster; 2 pcs magazine; 20 pcs 9mm ammunitions; and four units of cellular phones.

While the operatives were on the process of documenting the first result of the operation, same operatives received an information that another group of tourist would be passing the same route coming from Buscalan, Kalinga hence, the operatives maintained their post at Caluttit, Bontoc, Mt. Province.

Operatives were able to found 27 pieces of Marijuana bricks and in tubular forms worth P3, 308,400.00 together with 3 individuals boarded by an orange vehicle. The three were identified as Jerald Escanillas, 22, and single; John Vincent Santos, 20, and single; and Princess Diana Kling, 21, and single; all residents of Angeles City, Pampanga. A certain Ryan Joe Courpin was mentioned as one of their companions but evade arrest. The three (Escanillas, Santos, Kling) were then arrested.

All the arrested individuals and confiscated pieces of evidence were subsequently brought to the Bontoc Municipal Police Station for documentation while charges of violation of the pertinent provisions of Republic Act (RA) 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Law are now being prepared against them for filing before the provincial prosecutor’s office.

This successful operation was through the combined efforts of PDEA-Mt. Province, Bontoc MPS, PDEU, PMFC, RIU, RID, PIB and MPPO.

By Dexter A. See