By Jeffrey Damicog
The Makati court sentenced a suspected ranking official of Mexico’s notorious Sinaloa drug cartel to life imprisonment on Wednesday after he was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of selling 2.5 kilos of cocaine in Makati in January 2015.
The conviction of Horacio Hernandez Herrera came on the same day that Mexican mobster Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was convicted by a jury to life in prison for smuggling tons of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana into the United States.
Guzman was arrested in 2014, while Herrera was nabbed in 2015.
DOJ spokesperson Undersecretary Markk Perete said aside from the jail term, Makati Judge Selma Palacio Alaras (Branch 63) ordered Herrera to pay a fine ranging from P500,000 to P10 million.
Perete congratulated the prosecutors who secured the conviction, namely, Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera, Assistant State Prosecutors Josie Christina Dugay and Ethel Rea Suril.
“The Department welcomes the conviction handed down by Judge Alaras and congratulates its prosecutors for their able handling of this case,” he stated.
“It is through their efforts, as well as that of our law enforcers, that we are able to keep safe our communities,” he pointed out.
Perete said Herrera is believed to be “a mid-level member of the Sinaloan Mexican Drug Cartel engaged in the supply of shabu, ecstacy and cocaine in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.”
“He was arrested in a buy-bust operation conducted by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Special Enforcement Service, involving the sale of cocaine for US$2,500.00,” he added.
Meanwhile, operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) yesterday nabbed two Filipino-Chinese businessmen and seized two kilos of high grade shabu, 15 transparent plastic sealed shabu worth P13.6 million and other items used in their illegal drug deals during a buy bust operation in Quezon City.
PDEA-Intelligence Investigation Service (IIS) (NCR) Director Jigger Montellana identified the suspects as Patrick Bankee, 44, and Alexander Jun Wah ting Lee, 40.
The buy-bust operation was conducted between 2am to 3am at 33 Don Ramon St. in Talayan Village resulting to the arrest of the suspects.
PDEA agents also confiscated numerous ATM cards, four cellular phones and P5,000 buy bust money.
The suspects fell after a week-long surveillance.
PDEA Director-General Aaron Aquino said the government needs full public support and cooperation to achieve the goal of a drug-free Philippines in 2022 when the term of President Duterte expires.
In enticing the public to provide vital information to anti-narcotics law enforcers, Aquino said that individuals giving reliable tips to the agency that result to successful anti-illegal drug operation will earn them appropriate cash rewards.
Aquino assured that the identities of the tipsters will be treated with utmost confidentiality and assured their safety. (With reports from Chito A. Chavez and Jel Santos)