ZAMBOANGA CITY – Joint government forces have discovered and destroyed a marijuana plantation maintained by an alleged supporter of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in the province of Sulu, officials said Saturday.
Lt. Col. Oliver Baylon, Marine Battalion Landing Team 7 (MBLT-7) commander, said the marijuana plantation was discovered in Sitio Mangal-Mangal, Barangay Masjid Punjungan, Kalingalang Caluang town on Friday.
Baylon said the marijuana plantation was discovered when MBLT-7 troopers and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) operatives launched an operation against a drug personality identified as a certain Sahabi in Sitio Mangal-Mangal in Barangay Masjid Punjungan.
“While scouring the reported haven, operating troops discovered six plantation sites of fully grown and two plantation sites of newly planted marijuana,” he said.
Baylon said the marijuana plantation has a total land area of 2,100 square meters with more or less 22,000 fully-grown marijuana, estimated by the PDEA to be worth PHP5.1 million.
Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Joint Task Force Sulu commander, said Sahabi is a supporter of the ASG and the marijuana plantation is another source of fund of the bandits and their supporters.
The joint marines and PDEA operatives, in collaboration with barangay officials of Masjid Punjungan, uprooted and burned the marijuana plants.
Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said they would continue to support other government agencies in conducting law enforcement operations to prevent the proliferation of illegal drugs “in our operational area.” (PNA)