A 48-year-old fisherman from Tandag City in Surigao del Sur who was earlier hailed for his good deed when he and a friend returned a total of 34 bricks of cocaine they found floating in the local waters last February 23 has turned out to be a bad guy who intentionally kept a huge part of their previous find in an apparent effort to sell the drugs to local users.
Police Regional Office 13 director, Brigadier General Gilbert DC Cruz made the revelation yesterday as he announced the filing of criminal charges for violation of Section 11 or possession of dangerous drugs under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 against Ronie Arpilleda Navales.
“He is not a Good Samaritan after all as he was found to have intentionally kept six bricks of cocaine thinking he would gain instant money by selling the drugs to local users,” said Cruz. According to the official, Navales, a resident of Purok Santan, Barangay Bongtud in Tandag City was placed under surveillance after the local police received reports about the sale of cocaine in some areas of Surigao del Sur.
Cruz said that after sensing he is already the subject of a police operation, Navales turned over four bricks of cocaine to the local police and claimed afterwards that he had flushed two more bricks in the toilet bowl.
Finding inconsistencies in his statement, police took custody of the suspect while the cocaine bricks he surrendered were properly turned over to the local office of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
Navales and fellow fisherman Ryan Apelo,23, found the floating cocaine bricks and immediately turned their find to the Tandag City Police Station earning them kudos from local officials and sacks of rice as a reward for their feat.
“Let us not be blinded by the greed of money for it will only bring trouble to you and your family. May this also serve as a warning to those who have recovered bricks of cocaine but have decided to keep them for themselves in order to sell the drugs in the future. You can never hide from the long arm of the law,” Cruz said.
Last April 7, 40 more cocaine bricks worth an estimated P200 million were turned over to the local police by local fishermen who discovered them floating in the waters of Surigao del Norte.
Cruz said that the cocaine bricks wrapped in a fishnet were spotted by a group of fishermen at the waters of Burgos, Surigao del Norte at 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Immediately, the fishermen reported their find to the Burgos Municipal Police Station headed by Captain Carter Yamba.