P153.8M worth of marijuana plants uprooted in Northern Luzon; cultivator arrested

January 23, 2010 11:44 am 

CAMP BGEN OSCAR M. FLORENDO, Jan. 23 — A total of 765,700 fully-grown marijuana plants, 16,900 seedlings and 370 grams of seeds, costing P153.8 million, were destroyed in 15 plantation sites raided by lawmen at the tri-boundary of La Union, Ilocos Sur and Benguet from January 19 to 22.

The joint operation, participated in by elements of the Region 1 police office and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Regional Office 1 (PDEA-RO1), was so far the biggest raid ever undertaken by lawmen this year.

Chief Superintendent Constante Azares Jr., police regional director, said one marijuana cultivator, Juliano Tiwen Tapaya, 48, of Sapdaan, Santol, La Union, was arrested.

Tapaya identified his two other companions who eluded arrest as Wilbert Tapaya and a certain ‘Washington’, said Azares.

The marijuana plantations were located in Sitio Saep, Barangay Sapdaan, Santol, La Union; Sitio Lebeng, Barangay Badeo, Kibungan, Benguet; and Barangay Licungan, Sugpon, Ilocos Sur.

Azares said the operation was part of the PNP’s Masterplan “Sangbanat” and PDEA’s OPLAN “Farmville.”

The operatives were from PDEA-RO1, Regional Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Group, 1st Regional Public Safety Management Battalion, La Union Police Provincial Public Safety Maneuver Company, and Naval Intelligence Service Group-Northern Luzon.

They were transported to the different drop zones in the said areas on January 19 by two Philippine Air Force helicopters.

As of Saturday, some of the operatives were still in the area hauling down the illegal plants from the mountainous boundaries.

They are expected to go back to base on Sunday. (PNA)

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