Tourist pushers use banks, FB to sell illegal drugs: Baguio cops

BAGUIO CITY — The Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) has revealed that sellers of illegal drugs in the city who come from other places use “bank-to-bank” transactions in getting payments.

BCPO director Sr. Supt. Ramil Saculles said Tuesday the city police has already coordinated with the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLaC) for an extensive check of the bank transactions of two persons recently arrested in separate instances for selling illegal drugs in the city.

“I coordinated already with AMLaC (to find out) how they can trace (the transactions). We have the account number, the name, but we do not know they were selling here. It just so happened that they were arrested here,” Saculles said in the Ilocano dialect.

He said one of the two persons caught selling illegal drugs is from Iloilo province in the Visayas, while the other is from Laguna province.

“The one from Iloilo has no city address. He came from other provinces, checked in at Eurotel.Medyo mahal, PHP1,800 ata per night (Somewhat costly, perhaps about PHP1,800 per night), so he transferred and found Harrison Inn, which is PHP500 per day,” Saculles said.

The one from Iloilo was also transacting business through Facebook, while the one from Laguna has a partner from Zamboanga, he said.

“He stayed for five days renting rooms and moving from one hotel to another. They transact through the bank and he only goes down to the lowlands to get the stuff,” he said again in the vernacular.

Since the two are not on the list of drug personalities in Baguio, the police and even the village officials are unaware of their dealings in the city.

Haan nga madetect piman ti barangay ta adda lang hotel isuna. Aglaku diay ruwar ngem umuneg ti hotel ti rabii (The barangay [officials] cannot detect them because they only go out to sell and return to the hotel at night),” Saculles explained.

In a separate interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA), Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan said concerned government agencies and all stakeholders must coordinate to neutralize the drug pushers in the city.

Lumalaing da dagitoy da involved ti kakasta (Those involved are becoming innovative in the conduct of their illegal activities),” he said, urging locals to be vigilant and united that no drug pusher establishes base in the city, victimizing more people.

On Monday, the city government lauded four barangays in the city for maintaining their “drug-free” status since 2016.

“It should be an inspiration to the other barangays to work for their areas to become drug free,” he said.

Latest city records have shown an increase in the number of drug-affected barangays in the city from six to 24 with the addition of 18, where there was a reported resurgence of illegal drugs and/or drug personalities.