NBI raids Bulacan fishpond: 5 men arrested; drugs, firearms seized
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) operatives have arrested five suspects and seized illegal drugs as well as high-powered firearms during a raid at a three-hectare fishpond in Hagonoy, Bulacan.
In a press briefing on Friday, NBI spokesman Ferdinand Lavin identified one of the suspects as ex-convict Antonio Lascano Dela Cruz Sr., who was part of the Sigue-Sigue Sputnik Gang at the New Bilibid Prison.
The NBI official also named the other four suspects as Antonio Lascano Dela Cruz Jr., Jeric Mariano Lascano, Gilbert Montemayor Bondoc, and Ralph Cruz Paule.
After obtaining a search warrant issued by a Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC), Lavin said the raid was launched Thursday afternoon to ensure the targets would be at the fishpond.
Dela Cruz Sr. was immediately collared as NBI operatives approached and announced their presence, Lavin said.
The other four suspects, whom Lavin revealed were caught red-handed in a pot session during the raid, allegedly tried to escape but they were cornered and subdued by NBI agents.
“They (all) tested positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride,” Lavin told reporters.
Lavin said NBI agents confiscated from the suspects 11 sachets of methamphetamine hydrochloride, commonly known as shabu, with an estimated value of P400,000.
Lavin further said they also seized 13 firearms from the site during the raid. Among the seized firearms was an airgun converted into a sniper rifle with scope and suppressor.
Using military cover
Dela Cruz Sr., who served 10 years in prison for frustrated homicide, was allegedly using his fishpond in Tatayin Bukid in Hagonoy as a cover for his purported illegal drug trade, Lavin noted.
Lavin said that the ex-convict was posing as a colonel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in his area of operation. At times, Lavin said, Dela Cruz Sr. would wear complete military uniform and even equip himself with a sidearm pistol.
The NBI official further revealed that Dela Cruz Sr. was allegedly supplying illegal drugs in various areas in Bulacan and Pampanga. Dela Cruz Sr.’s alleged source of illegal drugs, however, was still being investigated.
But in an ambush interview with reporters, Dela Cruz Sr. denied that having possession of the seized illegal drugs and firearms. He, however, admitted to using shabu.
Lavin said that all suspects were already presented for inquest proceedings before the Department of Justice for violations of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Violation of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act, likewise awaits the suspects, Lavin said. /kga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.