Police raid evacuation center, confiscate shabu, marijuana

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

AUTHORITIES recently discovered that a fire evacuation center in Sitio San Isidro, Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City has been made into a drug den.

Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) raided the tents last Tuesday night and found 30 small sachets of suspected shabu and some 30 sticks of marijuana inside.

The area served as a temporary evacuation site for fire victims of Warwick Barracks in Barangay Ermita.


But the drugs users, who were the targets of the operation, eluded arrest.

“The drug users were able to sense the police presence and they escaped just in time we arrived,” said CCPO Director Noli Romana, who headed the operation.

For verification

He said they received several reports about the rampant use of illegal drugs in the area.

He said they still have to verify if the fire victims are the drug users.

“Baka kasi yung iba hindi taga dyan at pumupunta lang sila (It may the drug users are not from the area and they just go there to use drugs),” Romana said.

The CCPO director said they saw a shanty full of drug paraphernalia and marijuana sticks during the raid.

They confiscated about P5,000 worth of shabu and marijuana.

“We received reports na may palaging nag pot session sa lugar na iyon (We received a report that many people hold a pot session in the area),” said Romana.

Two residents, Rubenilo Capuno, 42, and Michael Gramatica, 24, were held for questioning since they were found standing next to the shanty during the raid.

Romana said the two men were later released because police did not find any evidence against them.

He said the raid was a result of their intensified operation against illegal drugs.

“Illegal drugs are the cause of street crimes. Crimes will eventually decrease if we will intensify our drug operations,” said Romana.

Drug ‘haven’

Meanwhile, Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella said last Tuesday night’s raid was in accordance to his order to combat illegal drugs.

Labella, chairman of the Police Coordinating and Advisory Council, said they received reports of illegal activities in the area, prompting police to conduct the operation to verify the matter.

“I thought it was just an isolated case that is why we had it verified,” he said.

Police were earlier asked to monitor the area after Labella described it as a “haven” for illegal drugs activities.

Following the successful operation, Labella said City cannot immediately order that
families to vacate the place since it has to go through a legal process.

Yesterday, the City Council asked the executive department to give the fire victims a 90-day extension.

This will allow the City to process the purchase of a lot in Barangay Quiot which has been identified as the victims’ relocation site.

The City initially picked Phase III of Sitio Kapasar in Barangay Budlaan as the relocation site, but most of the families refused to move there, saying the site is not developed.

The council has also requested the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor to coordinate with the owner of the lot to expedite the purchase.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 14, 2014.

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