Makati court metes life sentence on Mexican drug trader

By Benjamin Pulta

February 13, 2019, 12:19 pm

GUILTY. An excerpt of the Makati Regional Trial Court's ruling on the case of Mexican national Horacio Hernandez Herrera who was arrested in an entrapment operation in 2015.

MANILA -- The Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) on Wednesday convicted a Mexican national who is allegedly linked to the Sinaloa drug cartel, for selling 2.5 kg. of cocaine to undercover operatives four years ago.

In a seven-page decision, RTC Branch 63 Judge Selma Palacio Alaras sentenced Horacio Hernandez Herrera to life imprisonment and a fine of PHP500,000 to PHP10 million.

Herrera was arrested by Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agents on Jan. 11, 2015 in a buy-bust operation at the parking area of Dona Dona Korean BBQ restaurant on Makati Ave., Barangay Poblacion, Makati City with 2,560 grams of cocaine.

According to the court, months before the entrapment, police informants set the deal with Herrera in coffee shops in the area.

He arrived in 2013 in Manila and was supposedly planning to put up a cocaine distribution ring in the Philippines.

Herrera claimed he was abducted by men in plain clothes from his hotel room and was taken to the car where he was later arrested.

The court, however, noted that the defense failed to produce CCTV footage or eyewitnesses that they were supposed to present after they were given ample time to secure them.

Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera, Assistant State Prosecutors Josie Christina Dugay and Ethel Rea Suril prosecuted the case.

On Tuesday, a court in the United States convicted multi-billionaire Sinaloa drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, 61, on 10 counts of drug smuggling.

The Department of Justice (DOJ), meanwhile, lauded the court's ruling.

"The Department welcomes the conviction handed down by Judge Alaras and congratulates its prosecutors for their able handling of this case. It is through their efforts, as well as that of our law enforcers, that we are able to keep safe our communities," DOJ spokespeson Undersecretary Markk Perete said in a statement.

 

PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino, for his part, called the court's decision a victory of the government's anti-illegal drugs campaign.

“The unwavering dedication and commitment of prosecutors and PDEA agents as witnesses played a crucial role in presenting air-tight evidence against Herrera in favor of the government. To see a drug offender, especially a high-profile drug personality, punished with the full force of the law is itself a victory,” Aquino said in a statement. (PNA)

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