American National Arrested (Again) for Drug Distribution

Someone I know – and have known for some years – was arrested last night on drug distribution charges in Dumaguete City.  The following information has already been published, so I guess there is no need to try to protect his anonymity. It is a sorry situation, and one that all foreign nationals living outside their native home countries can learn from.  By this point, most people have seen episodes or excerpts of shows like “Locked Up Abroad,” and the last thing one wants is to get involved in criminal case in a country like the Philippines.

This was not Jim’s first arrest for drug distribution charges in the Philippines.  He was arrested thirteen months ago (April 2018), spent 10 months in a local lockup awaiting trial and was released due some technicality. I ran into him on the boulevard about three months ago.  He looked good and said that he was going to stay in the Philippines.  This was surprising to me given his recent experiences in prison.  If I had been me, I would have probably purchased the first ticket ANYWHERE out of the country as soon as they opened my cell door.  After seeing him that one evening on the boulevard, I didn’t see or hear about him again.

Until this morning:


WHAT Foreign national arrested for Violation of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002)

WHEN Saturday Night, 8:00PM, June 15, 2019

WHERE Room 01, Lodging/Boarding House, Canlas Subd, Barangagy Taclobo, Dumaguete City.

WHO Suspect: JAMES THOMAS HOBERT, American Citizen, Single, Male, 50 years old of Western Florida, U.S.A.

Joint elements of City Drug Enforcement Unit-Dumaguete City Police Station, Philippines Drug Enforcement Unit, Philippine Intelligence Branch Special Operations Group conducted anti-illegal drug operation through buy bust.

HOW The above Philippines law enforcement agencies coordinated and conducted a buy-bust joint anti-illegal drug operation which resulted to the successful arrest of the above named suspect.

RECOVERED EVIDENCE 1 pc elongated transparent heat sealed plastic sachet containing suspected shabu (methamphetamine) powder/granules for buy bust and 1 pc 500 peso bill as buy bust money;

1 pc elongated transparent heat-sealed plastic sachet containing suspected shabu powder/granules;

2 pcs medium transparent heat-sealed plastic sachet containing suspected shabu powder/granules.

1pc big transparent heat-sealed plastic sachet containing suspected shabu powder/granules;

Cash proceeds P230.00.

Total weight of the confiscated suspected shabu granules came to 8 grams with a street value of 54,400 pesos. All the pieces of evidence were taken from the suspect’s direct possession and control.

DISPOSTITION Suspect is temporary placed under custody of Dumaguete City Police Station while appropriate charges are being prepared for court filing.

NOTE The suspect was arrested for the same violation in April of 2018 in Barangay Magnao. After waiting ten months for trial, the charges were dismissed and the suspect was released.



I have cleaned up the post a bit and written out the acronyms for the involved law enforcement agencies.  From the report, it seems that the police knew he was selling and set up a controlled purchase.  Once the transaction was done, they went in for the arrest.

The Philippines doesn’t mess around when it comes to drug use.  ESPECIALLY if it is a foreigner getting caught afoul of its drug laws.  Simple possession of marijuana will result in arrest and an extended stay in the local tropical gulag.  As it stands now, James will be facing life imprisonment if he is convicted of the charges arrayed against him. 

Illicit substances such as heroin, methamphetamine (shabu) and cocaine have no real upsides – short-term pleasure in return for very real long-term pain.  I worked in substance abuse for many years and have long seen the carnage that hard drugs (and alcohol) leaves in their wake.

I like James Hobart.  When I knew him he was a funny, charming and witty guy. I even met his teenaged (now a young adult) son while he was visiting his dad here.  I truly hope the best for him as he has to deal with whatever is in store for him.

And for anyone reading this – a lesson that will hopefully not be lost. 

Having an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol is bad enough. 

Having an addiction in a strange country while far away from your home support system is something else entirely.



  1. 8 grams is worth that much? A gram of coke is only 3000 pesos in Europe. I thought this was a poor mans drug? Maybe a little goes a long way.
    My guess is he was set up, I mean targeted as a foreigner. Gets more exposure There’s a lot of people doing it here if the driving is anything to go by?
    I came across the Headsup Duma fb page. My god there’s a lot going on in a 50 mile radius of this grimy little town that never gets reported. Massacres of farmers, tandem drive by killings, families killing other family members. My lawyer has a 24 guard now after representing a murdered customer. He’s inundated with death threats. Worrying thing is that his office is directly above my eatery?
    They’re always in “ hot pursuit”. You NEVER hear that anyone has been caught unless it’s a high value easy target like a foreigner.

  2. He was already in jail once yet he stayed around after getting out. That doesn’t seem like a good idea. Will lightning strike twice for him? I doubt it. Drugs are very bad news in Philippines.

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