A former barangay chairman in Pandan included in the national illegal drugs watchlist is facing multiple criminal charges following the seizure of illegal drugs worth about P355,000, a loaded gun and other items during a buy-bust operation conducted by the police last week.
Alexander Icaro Lopez, 46, a fish vendor who once served as barangay chairman of Canlubi, was arrested by joint elements of the Municipal Drug Enforcement Unit (MDEU) of the Pandan police station, Catanduanes Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB), Regional Police Drug Enforcement Unit/Regional Intelligence Division-Regional Special Operations Group (RPDEU/RID-RSOG) and the Catanduanes 1st Provincial Mobile Force Company (PMFC) led by Pandan police officer-in-charge Lt. Roderick Bino, in the anti-illegal drug operation at sitio Cabigaan in barangay Ogas last Jan. 28, 2020 at 8:40 A.M.
Prior to his apprehension, he was included in the National Watchlist for Illegal Drugs (NWID) and ranked second in the Provincial Recalibrated Top 10 illegal drug personality/priority target of the province, the police stated.
Aside from the small plastic sachet of shabu that he sold to a poseur-buyer, another 37 small sachets of the same illegal drug were seized from his possession, along with the P500.00 buy-bust money, a Cal. 38 pistol with three bullets, a Kawasaki Bajaj CT150 motorcycle without plate number and other non-drug items.
Chemical examination of the drug evidence by the Regional Crime Laboratory Office 5 (RCLO) in Legazpi City showed that the 38 sachets tested positive for the presence of methamphetamine hydrochloride with a total net weight of 52.254 grams. The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) appraised the current street value of the Lopez drug haul at P355,327.20.
Cases for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 will be filed against the suspect for violation of Section 5 (sale of dangerous drugs) and Section 11 (possession of dangerous drugs) as well as illegal possession of firearms and ammunition in violation of Republic Act 10591.
If found guilty, he could possibly be meted two life sentences for the twin illegal drug violations plus multi-million peso fines, and an additional prison term for the gun charge.
While there is no evidence showing that Lopez engaged in illegal drugs during his single term as village chief, an elder brother was reportedly involved in drugs several years earlier.
In December 2014, one Richard Lopez, then 43, a jobless resident of Canlubi, was arrested along with 14 others in an operation against illegal drugs and illegal gambling conducted by the Pandan and Caramoran police stations and the Catanduanes Provincial Public Safety Company.
In a similar operation in the capital town, a 34-year old laborer who had graduated from the Community-Based Treatment and Rehabilitation Program (CBTRP) in 2019 is again in police custody after being nabbed in a buy-bust operation also on Jan. 28.
Prince Panti Gianan was arrested by joint elements of the Virac police and the Regional Police Drug Enforcement Unit-Regional Intelligence Division (RPDEU-RID) led by acting police chief Maj. Bon Billy Timuat at 1:50 P.M. after handing over a small sachet of suspected shabu to the poseur-buyer along the road at barangay Gogon Sirangan.
Also confiscated as evidence were a medium-sized sachet of suspected shabu, the P500 buy-bust money, the tricycle he was using and other non-drug items.