’SHABU’ SEIZED. About PHP6.9 million worth of suspected shabu, weighing more than 1 kg., was seized during a buy-bust operation in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental on Tuesday evening (Feb. 8, 2023). The suspect was previously arrested in 2012, also due to the illegal drug trade, but was released in 2016 after a plea bargain. (Photo courtesy of PDEA)

DUMAGUETE CITY – Government operatives arrested a “plea bargainer” and seized from him about 1 kg. of suspected shabu worth more than PHP6.9-million during a buy-bust operation in this Negros Oriental provincial capital Tuesday evening.

A report from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) - Negros Oriental said 54-year-old Fernando Saga was arrested in a joint operation in Sitio Canday-ong in Barangay Calindagan here at about 10:50 p.m.

PDEA-Negros Oriental Director Elmer Ebona said in an interview that Saga was under close surveillance for six months up to the time of his arrest and is one of the “big fish” in the illegal drug trade in the province.

“The suspect can dispose of more or less one kilo of (suspected) shabu every week, with his sources mostly coming from Cebu, based on intelligence reports,” Ebona said in mixed English and Cebuano.

Saga, who hails from Purok Orchids in Canday-ong, was arrested in 2012 for violation of Sec. 5, Article II of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, but entered into a plea bargain, which subsequently led to his release in 2016, he said.

Seized from the suspect were four packs of suspected shabu, which weighed about 1,015 grams and has an estimated street value of PHP6.9 million, buy-bust money, a mobile phone, and other personal items.

Charges of violation of RA 9165 are being readied against the suspect, who is under detention. (PNA)