AGENTS of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency are tracking down the main sources of slain big-time Ecstasy dealer John Steven Pasion even as they build up evidence against “rich and famous” clients of the syndicate, at least two of them said to be top celebrities.
PDEA spokesman Director Derrick Arnold C. Carreon said that an initial investigation showed that Pasion, tagged as the top supplier of Ecstasy in Metro Manila until his killing last Tuesday, sold designer drugs that were smuggled from The Netherlands and other parts of Europe.
Carreon said that they have discovered that the slain suspect bought Ecstasy through the so-called dark web which was described as a collection of websites that exist on a hidden network and in which clients pay online.
The PDEA headed by Director General Aaron N. Aquino has launched an investigation into how Pasion managed to smuggle drugs into the country since 2018.
Most probably, the suspect was believed to have sneaked in dangerous drugs through mail and parcel services prompting the PDEA to contact the Philippine Postal Office and different courier service providers to look into deliveries sent to Pasion.
Senate President Vicente ‘Tito’ Sotto III the other day called on the PDEA to name the celebrities patronizing Pasion and added that big networks where the celebrities are working should go after them.
In the wake of President Duterte’s release of the narco-list containing the names of 46 politicians suspected to be involved in illegal drug activities, there were suggestions that the PDEA should also release the names of the celebrities into drugs to be fair to the identified narco-politicians.
The PDEA leadership has refused to reveal the identities of the two local celebrities they were investigating for Ecstasy use but officials said their suspicions were further bolstered by the fact that the names of the two were seen on the mobile phone of Pasion, one of them even ordering 200 Ecstasy tablets.
One of the celebrities allegedly appear on national television every day.
Aquino said that in one of the messages extracted from the slain suspect’s cellphone, one of the celebrities asked Pasion if there was an available supply of Ecstasy. The PDEA chair added that the pictures of the two celebrities who were already on their radar were also found on the same mobile phone although he admitted that those are not enough to pin them down.
“Based on the text messages that we extracted from his cellphone, dalawa, dalawang artista. Matagal na din tayong may reports na involved sila,” said PDEA Special Enforcement Service head, Director Levi Ortiz.
The PDEA-SES is questioning Pasion’s girlfriend Sophie Mercado who was with him during the buy-bust operation which ended up in the killing of the latter when he reportedly tried to grab the firearm of an officer.
The sting was conducted at the 3rd level parking of Amaia Skies Avenida in Sta. Cruz, Manila around 10:45 p.m. last Monday.
Recovered during the buy-bust operation were 15 suspected Ecstasy tablets worth P30,000, 50 grams of suspected shabu valued at P300,000, several plastic sachets containing suspected cocaine and Ecstasy capsules, the buy-bust money and one caliber 9mm semi-automatic pistol with a magazine containing 13 live ammunition.