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‘SEIZED DRUGS FRUIT OF POISONOUS TREE’

American caught with P50M shabu, gov’t vehicle wants case vs him dropped

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Drug suspect Brian Hill arrives at the Department of Justice wearing a mask. Beside him is the government-owned Mitsubishi Pajero where police agents said they found several kilos of shabu. NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

An American disc jockey who was arrested after a raid on his house led to the seizure of P50 million worth of methamphetamine hydrochloride, or “shabu,” on Monday sought the dismissal of the charges against him, saying the confiscated drugs were “the fruit of the poisonous tree.”

In his counter-affidavit submitted to prosecutors at the Department of Justice conducting a preliminary hearing of his case, Brian Hill denied all the charges against him, particularly the police’s claim that he sold them drugs during a meeting at his upscale condominium unit at 9 p.m. on November 7.

According to him, this was not possible because at the time, he was having dinner with relatives to celebrate his birthday.

Following the test buy, agents of the Philippine National Police Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (AIDSTF) applied for and got a search warrant from a Quezon City judge on November 12.

On November 20, they raided Hill’s condominium in The Columns Tower 2 at the corner of Ayala Avenue and Malugay Street in Makati City. They found a kilo of shabu in his unit plus nine more in a Mitsubishi Pajero, which sported a government license plate (SEP 825), resulting in his arrest.

“Simply stated, the absence of an actual test-buy destroys the very basis and foundation for which the search warrant was issued. Therefore, all the seized items should be considered fruit of the poisonous

tree and my arrest and detention is consequently illegal,” the 33-year-old American said.

Under the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine, evidence obtained from an illegal arrest, unreasonable search or coercive interrogation must be excluded from trial.

Hill also denied that he owned the drugs that were allegedly found in his unit or the Pajero from which AIDSOTF agents recovered nine kilos of shabu.

Hill’s lawyer, Raymond Palad, said that given the circumstances, it looked like the police antidrug agents had the “wrong target” because his client was not the “alias Phil” they were looking for.

He added that even if the police were to test the Pajero for fingerprints and DNA, they would not be able to find anything that would point to his client.

Palad also wondered why the police waited until November 20 to search for such a big amount of drugs when they already had a search warrant on November 12.

“They got the wrong target. They are targeting a certain Phil which is a different personality from Brian,” he claimed.


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Tags: Brian Hill , drug case , Illegal drugs , Philippines , US




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