PDEA zeroes in on ‘drug queen’

PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino (PDEA Cares image)

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino expressed confidence they could soon arrest the “drug queen” who allegedly buys and redistributes narcotics seized in police raids and entrapment operations.

In an interview, Aquino admitted they failed to neutralize the drug trafficker who have already earned more than P1 billion from selling illegal drugs for a decade but vowed to eventually get her.

“In the future, masasakote din natin siya [we will arrest her],” Aquino said.

Aquino, in the same interview, said he will solicit the help of National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director, Police Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, to help in their anti-illegal operations especially in Manila, where the “drug queen” operates.

With regards to the existence of the so-called “ninja cops” in the ranks of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Aquino said the PNP and the National Bureau of Investigation or NBI know their names.

“So far wala kaming na-identify na official. Ang pinakamataas eh SPO3 or Police Senior Master Sergeant, who is identified with the drug queen, unless there are some emerging PNP officers na hindi ko alam or hindi nila alam [who I don’t know or they do not know],” he said.

Just to show how big the drug queen’s illegal drugs operation are, in two streets in Manila alone, Aquino said she disposes off two to three kilos of illegal drugs a week.

PDEA has also identified 17 suppliers of illegal drugs that are connected to the drug queen and six identified policemen. He said other cops could also be involve.

Aquino said that the drug queen is very influential and powerful and knows a lot of politicians. She won in the 2018 barangay elections but did not take her oath as she feared being arrested, according to the PDEA chief.

“Sabi ko nga [Like I said] it started with 15 ninja cops, original ninja cops na galing sa [who came from the] Western Police District – MPD and then they were reassigned to QCPD and other police district. Nanganak nang nanganak [It grew] ‘yung iba naman na assign sa [some where assigned to] Bicol, in Mindanao. They put up their own ninja cops there,” Aquino said.

“Pero marami nang nahuli, marami na ring namatay, marami nang lumabas sa serbisyo kaya ‘yung noon mas marami ngayon kumunti na lang [But a lot has been arrested, a lot has died, a lot are no longer in service that’s why there were many then but now it lessened],” said Aquino.

“The prevalence of recycling is still there because there are still ninja cops who commit wrongdoing,” he added.

With regards to the actual numbers of cops who are involved, Aquino said it should be the PNP’s Directorate for Intelligence, the Police Drug Enforcement Group or the CITF, which has the number.

Aquino reiterated that PDEA has a good collaboration with the PNP in the war against illegal drugs.

Aquino earlier said that not only the drug syndicates based inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) who are the scourge of the war on drugs but also the shadowy ninja cops who recycle narcotics seized from police operations and who also tips off drug lords targeted by state forces.

Aquino claimed policemen were tapped last year to arrest the suspect in two operations headed by the NBI and another one by the anti-drug agency but because of the meddling of rogue cops, the operations failed.

“All operations by the NBI and us turned out negative. There really is a ‘snake’ and before we reach the area, the subject had already fled,” said Aquino.

Aquino explained that the PNP and PDEA — both at the helm of President Duterte’s anti-narcotics campaign — should prioritize weeding out corrupt members of both agencies.

K-9 units were deployed to sweep the barracks of PDEA agents in Metro Manila two weeks ago after receiving reports that illegal drugs were kept there, according to Aquino.