Police yesterday confiscated more than 3 kilos of cocaine bricks during a buy-bust operation in Lapu-Lapu City where two men were arrested.
?This is the biggest haul of cocaine this year,? said Senior Insp. Kenneth Paul Albotra, acting chief of the Regional Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operation Task Force (Raidsotf).
The seized cocaine has a street value of at least P21 million based on updated rates of P7 million per kilo, he said.
This is up from an earlier estimate of P5 million per kilo by the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB).
The operation, which took place past 9 a.m. outside the McDonald?s food outlet in Quezon National Highway in barangay Pajo, Lapu-Lapu City, resulted in the arrest of Eric Lereos Balansil, 36, of Tacloban City, and Darwin Ganalon Debuque David, 34, of Tanauan, Leyte province.
Both were temporarily residing in Cebu City.
A joint operation of police teams in Cebu and Manila was involved.
The surveillance and negotiation was made by Raidsoft personnel from Manila led by Supt. Ismael Fajardo.
The decoy buyers were able to negotiate with Debuque to hand over the cocaine for a price of P1.4 million.
Albotra said they used a fake wad of money topped with real P1,000 bills given by a policeman posing as a buyer.
According to a radio dySS report, the first transaction was made in Manila two weeks ago. Subsequent negotiations led to the consummation of the deal in Cebu.
The suspects arrived in Cebu from Leyte to deliver the cocaine bricks.
Police later submitted the confiscated cocaine to the PNP Crime Laboratory for examination.
Senior Supt. Louie Oppus, deputy director for operations for the Police Regional office (PRO 7), said he believed the cocaine came from Samar and was part of the cocaine bricks dumped in the sea last year by drug dealers who were anticipating a raid and trying to avoid being caught with contraband.
Oppus was referring to the P1.2-billion cocaine shipment that was dumped off Samar in the Pacific Ocean last year.
The cocaine from South America was supposed to be delivered to Hong Kong on board a cargo ship but the crew dumped the drugs into the sea out of fear that authorities were hot on their trail.
Albotra noted that the two men arrested yesterday in the drug deal came from Eastern Visayas and may have contacts in Samar that supplied the cocaine for Cebu.
Criminal charges will be filed against the suspects tomorrow, he said.
Last month, operatives of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Visayas (PDEA-7) also confiscated a brick of cocaine from a certain Yogan in A. Lopez Street, barangay Labangon, Cebu City./With a report from Correspondent Chito O. ARagon