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Drug supplier to celebrities, models killed in buy-bust

By: - Reporter / @jgamilINQ
/ 05:02 AM March 13, 2019

An alleged bigtime party drugs supplier in Metro Manila who counted celebrities and models among his clients was killed during a buy-bust operation on Monday night.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said that Steve “John” Pasion pulled out a gun and then grabbed the firearm of one of its agents, prompting other agents to shoot him.

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At that time, the 31-year-old Pasion was being arrested in the parking lot of his condominium unit at Barangay 310 in Sta. Cruz, Manila, following the buy-bust operation.

PDEA agents also placed under arrest his live-in partner, Irene “Sophie” Mercado, who was with him.

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Pasion, a franchise owner of a popular Chinese restaurant, counted among his clients several celebrities and models, Levi Ortiz, PDEA Special Enforcement Services acting director, said in a press conference on Tuesday.

High-profile clients

Two of these celebrities — a man and a woman — were now being monitored by PDEA after Pasion’s cell phone showed text messages reportedly detailing their transactions with him.

“They’re high-profile, always appearing on TV,” Ortiz said of the celebrities, one of whom was found to have ordered from Pasion 200 ecstasy tablets.

Seized from Pasion were 15 tablets of suspected ecstasy worth P30,000, “shabu” (crystal meth) valued at P300,000 and sachets of suspected cocaine.

Imported drug warehouse

Also recovered from his condominum unit, which according to PDEA was being used as a “warehouse” for imported drugs, were a kilo of shabu worth P6 million, three bottles of liquid ecstasy worth P75,000 and other drug paraphernalia.

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PDEA’s operation on Monday was a followup to the one its agents conducted on Feb. 8 in a condominium unit on Tomas Morato Avenue at Barangay Kristong Hari in Quezon City.

Part-time models Billy Joe Kakilala and Ronnie M. Toribio were arrested at that time, along with event organizer Abby Forteza Oban.

The three were reportedly party drugs dealers in Metro Manila. During questioning, Toribio pointed to Pasion as his narcotics supplier, Ortiz said.

Seized from the three suspects were narcotics similar to those being sold by Pasion: 100 pieces of suspected ecstasy tablets that were in packets like candies, 750 ml of suspected liquid ecstasy, 20 g of suspected shabu and a gram of suspected cocaine in a sachet.

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TAGS: Irene Mercado, Manila drug bust, Steve Pasion, war on drugs
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