Nearly 3,000 illegal drug ‘traders’ yield in Visayas

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Close to 3,000 suspected drug dealers in Central Visayas and Iloilo City have surrendered since the start of Operation “Tokhang” on July 1.

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Senior Supt. Rey Lyndon Lawas, deputy director for operations of the Central Visayas regional police office, said the Bohol Provincial Police Office recorded the most number of drug suspects who have surrendered, at 1,646. It was followed by Cebu with 411.

Lawas said 334 pushers surrendered to different police stations under the Cebu Provincial Police Office, 175 to Lapu-Lapu City Police and 90 to the Mandaue City Police.

The regional police director said there was no data on the number of drug users in the region who have turned themselves in.

Some dealers with no pending cases were endorsed for rehabilitation by their local government units.

While all of them vowed to stop selling drugs following their surrender, many were arrested in succeeding buy-bust operations for continuing their trade, police said.

Under Operation “Tokhang” (“knock and ask”), the police knock on the houses of suspected drug pushers and users and urge them to stop their illegal activities.

In Iloilo City, a total of 941 drug suspects from 180 barangay surrendered.

The city police director, Senior Supt. Remus Zacharias Canieso, said the latest to surrender on July 7 was Rolando Torpio alias “Apa,” considered a “high-value target” and rated as the fifth most wanted on the police watch list of illegal drug traders in the city.

The weeklong operation netted 857 drug users, 34 traders and 50 users who were also pushers.

Those who turned themselves in from the Iloilo city proper were 283. The rest were as follows: Arevalo (260), Molo (151), Mandurriao (105), La Paz and Lapuz (97) and Jaro (45).

The Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council has submitted a list containing the names of 150 top drug traders in the city.

But Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog was not impressed with the numbers and ordered the police to pursue more high-value targets and other drug traders.

Mabilog said the mass surrender was likely “mere compliance” by barangay (village) chairmen with the new Duterte administration pursuing a tough stance on illegal drugs.

He urged other drug traders to surrender and not wait for the implementation of “Oplan Double Barrel,” said to be the second phase of the anti-drug campaign that will start in September.

WITH REPORT FROM PNA

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