Look: Big-time drug trader was nabbed with P4 million worth of shabu

PHILIPPINE Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Visayas (PDEA-7) Regional Director Yogi Filemon Ruiz checks the estimated P4 million shabu seized from alleged big-time drug supplier Gerome Sosmeña (inset, with covered face) following a buy-bust operation at the Ayala Center mall on Friday, Oct. 28, 2016 (CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON).

A big-time drug trader was nabbed with P4 million worth of shabu within 24 hours after the Philippine National Police and drug enforcement agencies started the second phase of the government’s antidrug campaign on Thursday targeting “high value targets.”

Antinarcotics operatives seized the estimated P4 million worth of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) from Jerome Sosmeña in an entrapment operation inside the Ayala Center Cebu mall at around 8 p.m. on Thursday.

Sosmeña, 31, a resident of Barangay Luz in Cebu City, reportedly supplied illegal drugs to members of the group who took over the operation of slain drug lord Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz, according to Yogi Filemon Ruiz, director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Visayas (PDEA-7).

The arrest of Sosmeña by PDEA-7 agents happened at about the same time that Philippine National Police (PNP) units in Cebu province also killed three drug suspects in separate police operations while two other persons, also allegedly involved in illegal drugs trade — a councilman of Barangay Jubay in Liloan town and a jeepney dispatcher in Cebu City — were gunned down by still unknown assailants over the same period.

Last Tuesday, ranking PNP officers along with regional police directors convened in Camp Crame in Quezon City to discuss the implementation of Project Double Barrel Alpha.

The expanded antidrugs scheme zeroed in on hunting down high value targets, including politicians, celebrities, businessmen and other prominent personalities who have links to the narcotics trade.

In Cebu City, Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), held a command conference on Thursday to explain to the different police chiefs how the Project Double Barrel Alpha will be implemented.

Perform, or else…

Police chiefs in the regions face ouster from their posts if they don’t perform well, according to Taliño.

Operatives of the Cebu Provincial Public Safety Company did not waste time after they were informed about the reinvigorated antidrugs operations.

At around 6 p.m. on Thursday, they conducted a drug bust to arrest Benedicto Cane Jr. who was involved in selling marijuana in Sitio Camalig Bato, Barangay Taboc, Danao City.

During the operation, Cane reportedly sensed that he was transacting with an undercover policeman. He immediately drew his handgun and fired at the policeman, prompting the latter to hide himself and shoot Cane, the police report on the incident read.

Cane was rushed to the hospital but was declared dead on arrival.

Two hours after, operatives of PDEA-7 arrested Sosmeña inside the Ayala Center Cebu mall and found inside his waist bag a kilo of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) worth P4 million, a weighing scale and several money transfer receipts.

Police also confiscated Sosmeña’s cellular phone and motorcycle. Ruiz said Sosmeña’s name always cropped up in drug investigations.

“After a series of arrests, his (Sosmeña) name always appeared in our investigations. And so we immediately hatched a plan to arrest him,” he said in a news conference yesterday.

Before meeting with the poseur buyer, Ruiz said Sosmeña asked them to take photographs of the money and send them to him via Viber, an online messaging application, to make sure they were authentic.

Sosmeña eventually agreed to meet the undercover agent at a mall near Cebu City’s seaport. But the suspect later changed his mind and asked the agent to go to Ayala Center Cebu instead. The agent agreed, but soon after the transaction was completed, PDEA-7 pounced on Sosmeña.

“Maybe he thought he was safe inside the mall. He did not know that law enforcers are now closely coordinating with security officers of the different malls in the conduct of our anti-illegal drugs operation,” Ruiz said.

Based on their investigation, Ruiz said Sosmeña got his supply of shabu from a source in Muntinlupa City.

Musician-turned-drug peddler?

“He is a big-time peddler. We found out that he recently supplied shabu to member of Jaguar’s group,” he said.

Ruiz said they will conduct further investigations to find Sosmeña’s contacts and customers.
“The prominent drug players are gone. Now, he (Sosmeña) is taking over from them,” he said.

Ruiz said they were also investigating who replaced Jaguar in the drug group he left behind.
Jaguar was killed in a police operation in Las Piñas City last June 17.

“Sosmeña’s arrest surely crippled their operations. But knowing the group, someone will surely take over his post. And so, there will be no letup in our campaign against illegal drugs,” Ruiz said.

Inside the PDEA-7 stockade, Sosmeña denied the allegations leveled against him.

“Wala ko kaila ni Jaguar. Nakadungog ra ko ana niya. Dili na tinuod nga nagsupply ko og drugs. (I do not know Jaguar personally. I only heard about him. I never supplied illegal drugs),” he told reporters.

Sosmeña, a former keyboardist of a local band, refused to elaborate.

His friend Cheryl Traya said they were surprised about Sosmeña’s arrest.

“Buotan man na siya. Na-shock gyud mi. (He is a good man. We were really shocked),” she said while standing outside the detention cell.

Traya said Sosmeña is currently a “youth leader” at the St. Joseph’s Parish in Mabolo and in Barrio Luz.

Sosmeña served as a job order employee of the Cebu City Hall in 2012 but chose to resign after almost a year.

Aside from Sosmeña, PDEA-7 agents also arrested a security guard of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport inside an abandoned shanty located within the airport compound past 9 p.m. on Thursday.

Ruiz said Gilbert Jatico was having a drug session with another security guard who managed to escape.

“We received information that some security guards and porters are holding pot sessions in that place. They did not know that PDEA has an office near that place,” he said.

- Read full report: CebuDailyNews
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