3 La Salle students held over ‘downers’By Nancy C. Carvajal
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Two 17-year-old students of De La Salle University-Dasmariñas who live in an exclusive subdivision in Muntinlupa City have been taken into custody by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for selling a brand of cigarettes believed to contain illegal drugs.
A third DLSU student who resides in the same subdivision has been arrested and subjected to inquest proceedings after the two identified him as their supplier.
Special investigator Salvador Arteche of the NBI’s Reaction, Arrest and Interdiction Division (RAID) said the 17-year-old students who are residents of Ayala Alabang Village were apprehended on Saturday in an entrapment operation after they sold a pack of Maraja Fruit Tobacco to an undercover agent on Alabang-Zapote Road.
The pair later yielded 11 other packs which contained 10 sticks each. Each pack was being sold at P2,500.
According to Arteche, the brand is popular in Brazil and is being sold in the Philippines through online buying sites.
Based on the complaints they received from those who had tried it, the cigarettes gave users a calm, relaxing feeling or made their head feel heavy, he added.
An online website advertised the brand as a popular sleeping tobacco in Brazil made from maraja fruit seeds “which gives a maximum relaxing experience.”
It added that the cigarette was “mostly used as an alternative whenever individuals have a hard time sleeping.”
“The cigarettes are now being examined by the bureau’s chemist to determine its contents,” Arteche said as he added that the cigarette brand was not in the NBI’s list of prohibited substances.
“We will recommend its inclusion in the list based on the result of the chemist’s examination,” Arteche said.
Jay, a fourth year tourism student who was tagged by the younger DLSU students as their supplier, told the Inquirer that his buyers were mostly students.
“It’s commonly used by students as a downer and for those who want to just sit down and relax,” he said.