By Edwin Fernandez

UPROOTED. Anti-narcotics agents seize over PHP12 million worth of marijuana plants on a 500-hectare plantation in Kalingan Caluang, Sulu, on Sunday (Feb. 25, 2024). PDEA-BARMM operations on Monday (Feb. 26, 2024) led to the dismantling of drug dens and arrest of nine drug suspects in Maguindanao del Norte province and Cotabato City. (Photos courtesy of PDEA-BARMM)

COTABATO CITY – Anti-narcotics authorities scored big in the past two days, uprooting PHP12 million worth of marijuana plants, dismantling two drug dens, and arresting nine suspects in operations in Sulu and Maguindanao.

In a report Tuesday, Director Gil Cesario Castro of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PDEA-BARMM) said a team of PDEA, police, and military personnel in Sulu seized dried marijuana leaves during a buy-bust Sunday afternoon.

Castro said the targeted personalities –Rene Onji and Amah Jul Onji–eluded arrest and left PHP6,000 worth of illegal plants during the law enforcement operation in Barangay Masjid Punjungan, Kalilangan Caluang, Sulu.

Authorities also discovered and uprooted 15,000 marijuana plants in a 500-square-meter land area in Sitio Mangal-Mangal, Barangay Masjid Punjungan.

Meanwhile, in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao del Norte on Monday, PDEA operatives, backed by police and military forces, arrested five men during a buy-bust in Barangay Salimbao.

Seized from them were shabu in several plastic sachets with a street market value of PHP102,000, buy-bust money, mobile phones, and a motorbike.

PDEA operatives also shut down an alleged drug den in Barangay Rosary Heights 10, arrested four persons, and seized over PHP170,000 worth of shabu.

Among the arrested suspects was a 61-year-old woman suspected of maintaining the drug den. Anti-narcotics agents seized 58 sachets of shabu, drug paraphernalia, and identification cards. (PNA)