Gov't forces discover, burn marijuana plantation in Sulu
Government forces discovered marijuana plantation of 2,100 square meters with 22,000 fully grown plants worth P5.1 million in Sulu early Friday.
Major Arvin Encinas, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command spokesman, said the Marine Battalion Landing Team 7, 4th Marine Brigade and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Sulu were conducting law enforcement operation for possible neutralization of drug personalities led by a certain Sahabi when they discovered the plantation in Sitio Mangal-Mangal, Barangay Masjid Punjungan, Kalingalang Caluang, Sulu.
"While scouring the reported haven, operating troops discovered six plantation sites of fully grown and two plantation sites of newly- planted marijuana," he said.
Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Joint Task Force Sulu commande,r said "Sahabi is a supporter of the Abu Sayyaf Group and the marijuana plantation could be another source of fund of the ASG and their supporters."
Lt. Col. Oliver Baylon, battalion commander of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 7 (MBLT7) said "based on the thorough evaluation of our partners from PDEA, the marijuana plantation has a total land area of 2,100 square meters with more or less 22, 000 fully grown marijuana and an estimated market value amounting to P 5.1 million."
Encinas said, in collaboration with the barangay officials of Masjid Punjungan, operating troops uprooted and burned the marijuana plants.
"PDEA personnel also collected samples of marijuana for laboratory testing and as evidence against the drug suspects," he said.
Rear Admiral Erick Kagaoan, commander of Naval Forces Western Mindanao said"the Fleet-Marine Team in Sulu will work with other government agencies to identify and arrest the owner of the plantation in order to put to a stop the cultivation of marijuana in the province."
"As this plants continue to be cultivated in the area, people will grow dependent on its profitability thus no change may prosper in this part of the country," he said.
Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Western Mindanao Command said "WestMinCom will continue to support other agencies in the conduct of law enforcement operations to prevent the proliferation of illegal drugs in our operational area." Robina Asido/DMS