By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The couple who were arrested at the Dumangas Port last Sunday evening after yielding P18 million worth of shabu are apparently linked to a local drug lord and robbery group operating in Negros Occidental.
In a radio interview yesterday morning, Silay City police chief, Police Superintendent Noel Polines, said Jose Alberto Kilayko Pinaga and his live-in partner, Maebelle Belmonte Poblador, both of Barangay Mambulac in the said city, have long been under observation by police.
He pointed out the suspects are receiving their supply of shabu from somewhere in Metro Manila and are smuggling the illicit substance via the Batangas Port. The suspects then travel from the Caticlan Port in Aklan to the Dumangas Port in Iloilo, before boarding another vessel bound for Bacolod City.
Polines said both suspects are working on behalf of Michael Divinagracia, a local drug lord, who also has links to the Aki Cuadra robbery group.
Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) director, Police Senior Superintendent Marlon Tayaba, meanwhile, said the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (NOPPO) coordinated with their office after anti-drug operatives monitored them leaving Negros Occidental to retrieve their shabu shipment.
After the operation in Dumangas, Tayaba said anti-drug operatives in Bacolod City also conducted a drug raid at the home of Corazon Vergel in Barangay Mandalagan, who was allegedly involved in repacking shabu provided by the suspects.
Earlier, Pinaga and Poblador were arrested by operatives from the IPPO and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) during a buy-bust operation inside the Dumangas Port.
Authorities recovered one big and four small sachets of suspected shabu weighing at one kilogram.
The suspects were scheduled to board a Bacolod City-bound ship in their white Chevrolet Duramax pickup truck.
Both suspects are presently incarcerated at the Dumangas Municipal Police Station./DGB, WDJ