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DRUG WOES

Pushers offer homes as dens to lure users of ‘shabu’

LUCENA CITY—Drug pushers in Quezon province are offering not only their deadly merchandise to users but also their homes as drug dens, according to police.

“Maintaining drug dens is a new marketing strategy of local drug syndicates,” said Senior Supt. Rhoderick Armamento, provincial police chief.

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“We want to nip it in the bud,” he said.

Pushers, the police chief said, turned their houses or extensions into drug dens to host their clients.

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“It’s extra income for the drug pusher-turned-den-maintainer,” said Armamento.

Fees for use of dens range from P50 to P100, according to users interviewed by the Inquirer.

Armamento said users turn to drug dens for convenience.

“The pusher and ‘shabu’ (methamphetamine hydrochloride) are already there,” he said.

Deceptive advertising

According to a member of the police intelligence unit, pushers lure users to dens in exchange for protection from arrests.

“Part of their sales talk is their den is being protected by an influential backer,” said the intelligence officer, who talked on condition of anonymity.

“Drug users would realize they were duped once raiders barge in,” he said.

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On Sunday, the city police raided two drug dens in separate parts of the city and arrested three men, one of them listed as No. 1 on the local drug watch list.

Police also arrested 15 users caught in the middle of pot sessions inside the drug dens.

Five of those arrested were female college students, one taking up a criminology course. Two are minors.

On Saturday, a pusher who also turned part of his house into a drug den was also arrested. Police caught three users sniffing shabu in the house.

Citizens’ charter

Armamento said the operation and locations of the drug dens had been given by concerned citizens.

“They phone us and send us text messages through our police hotlines,” he said.

“After a thorough validation and case buildup, we move in for the raid,” he added.

He attributed the success of the ongoing drug war to the full cooperation of local government officials led by Gov. David Suarez.

Last week, after meeting President Duterte in Malacañang, Mauban town Mayor Fernando Llamas, president of the Quezon mayors league, declared all-out support for the war on drugs.

“We’ve long been supportive of the drug war. After our meeting with him (Mr. Duterte), it is now 100 percent support,” Llamas said.

“No ifs and buts,” he added.

Last year, the governor created the Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council.

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TAGS: drug den, Drug pushers, drug syndicates, Drugs, Quezon Province, shabu
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