MARIJUANA PLANTS. Some of the 390 pieces of marijuana plants that were uprooted by the police from a plantation in Hinoba-an, Negros Occidental on Dec. 4, 2022. Suspect Bryan Desierto (right) was arrested during a buy-bust, which eventually led the police to discover the plantation. (Photo courtesy of Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office)

BACOLOD CITY – Operatives of Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (NOCPPO) have uprooted marijuana plants worth PHP1.4 million in the southernmost town of Hinoba-an, following the owner’s arrest in a buy-bust on Sunday afternoon.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, Lt. Judesses Catalogo, public information officer of NOCPPO, said the operation indicated the marijuana supply in the area is just sourced locally contrary to previous intelligence information it could have been brought into the province.

“We thought all the while what we were monitoring have been coming from other provinces. (New) information divulged these are located in the mountainous part of Hinoba-an,” he said.

This prompted the police to conduct a buy-bust, where they arrested Bryden Desierto, 30, who sold 50 grams of dried marijuana leaves worth PHP6,000 to a poseur-buyer in Purok 5, Barangay 2 Poblacion.

After his arrest, the suspect led the operatives to a location, where he was maintaining a marijuana plantation.

In a report, the Hinoba-an Municipal Police Station said recovered were seven stalks and 390 pieces of marijuana plants in pots valued at PHP1.4 million.

Capt. Ramel Bustamante, town police chief, said in a media interview the suspect told the marijuana was for his consumption.

However, Bustamante added that Desierto could also supply buyers in Hinoba-an and the adjacent areas.

Also known as cannabis, marijuana is classified as a dangerous drug under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. (PNA)