24 Oras video: Samar residents recount how they picked up cocaine packages that drifted ashore
24 Oras aired recently a report on testimonies of Samar residents recalling how the province became a hotspot for cocaine pushers following a reported dumping of two tons of the illegal substance in the waters of Samar by a Chinese vessel in December 2009. Bags of cocaine were first reported to have been washed ashore in the Mina-anod Island in Llorente, Eastern Samar. Inspector Alex Robin, chief of police of Llorente, said some residents who found the two sacks of cocaine that washed up wanted to keep them because there were certain people bought the cocaine for P20,000 to P50,000.
Sacks of cocaine were also found at Brgy. Natividad in San Policarpio, Eastern Samar. Litoy Rabas, a fisherman who earns at most P100 a day, discovered a sack containing 21 bricks of cocaine. He and wife Conchita Susma said they thought of the white substance as a blessing because they were able to buy rice for Noche Buena that Christmas after selling some of the cocaine to people who posed as officers of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). Region 8 Director Julius Navales said those people are syndicate members, not PDEA officers.
Another resident identified only as Sarah said her children discovered sacks of cocaine bricks which certain men bought from the family on Christmas Eve. 24 Oras reports that the bricks were sold at P200 to P500 a piece.
According to Inquirer.net, the police have already recovered 540 to 560 kilos of cocaine but they have no real estimate of the cocaine currently out in the streets. Individuals suspected of selling cocaine have already been arrested, including the nephew of Eastern Samar Gov. Conrado Nicart, Arnold Nicart. The Philippine Star reports that Nicart was arrested on August 7 for receiving part of the marked money worth a total of P1 million at Club Filipino in San Juan City, Metro Manila. His two alleged cohorts were caught with a kilo of cocaine in the drug bust of the Philippine National Police-Anti-Illegal Drug Special Operations Task Force.
Superintendent Leonardo Suan said, "I think Gov. Nicart has nothing to do with this because he is actively involved in helping us in our efforts to recover at least one and a half more tons of cocaine dumped near Samar."