DISCLAIMER: Please keep in mind that the individuals noted below are INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY in a court of (Filipino) law. What they were arrested for are ALLEGATIONS at this point. This just occurred on June 1st, and the full story is not yet out. Heck, even the identities of the foreigners have not yet been confirmed.
Well, after the scammers that were arrested earlier this week for the “black money scam” in Manila, we’ve now got some crazy goings on in Cebu City.
WHAT IS ALLEGED…
Well, it certainly was a busy week for the hard working officers of both the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Philippine National Police. A number of drug busts occurred in the Visayas region, with one on Bohol netting 150 grams of the notorious my-life-really-really-sucks drug, methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) worth a reported 1.7 million pesos (when translated from Monopoly money, that’s almost $33,000 US dollars).
Also snatched up during wide-ranging drug interdiction operations were five foreigners, all of whom were nabbed in a hotel in Cebu. Arrested in the June 1st operation were American nationals Jeremy Stevenson and Breana Ulrich, both aged 28. Also swept up were British nationals Jake Greevy, aged 32, Raymond Lewis Humphries and Barry McCleney, who were reported to be of 28 years of age. [Note that the Philippines Sunstar stated that Humphries was British but that his Facebook notes Trenton, New Jersey as his hometown.]
Authorities stated that the five foreigners were well-regarded members of the city’s expatriate community but it was unknown how they all knew each other.
The raid was a joint operation between the Abellana and Mobolo police stations that was initiated after an arrested Filipino drug dealer, Meljin Abad, told police that he had purchased the shabu from Jake Greevy (the aforementioned 32-year-old Brit who also seems from his Facebook to be a widower…).
After storming the hotel room, police claimed to have recovered 7.12 grams of methamphetamine worth approximately 84,000 pesos ($1,600 USD) and a small amount of marijuana.
Quick Aside: Some people also might think that 7 grams of shabu isn’t a whole lot of the drug so how can they be hit with distribution charges. Well, considering that shabu is potent in small quantities and typically sold in “pingi,” tenth of a gram sizes, 7 grams isn’t all that small – it’s actually over 70 typical ‘doses.”
The five arrested foreigners are all now facing drug possession and distribution charges under the auspice of Republic Act 9165, The Comprehensive Dangerous Drug Act of 2002. If convicted of distribution, they are facing life imprisonment. And even if convicted of lesser charges, they are still facing seven years to life behind Filipino bars.
MY TWO CENTAVOS
The first thing that sends up warning flags in this case is the fact that an arrested Filipino drug dealer provided the information that led to these arrests. Given the current state of “drug dealer disposition” in the Philippines, the dealer could have been so frightened that he lied, claiming that some foreigners he knew were actually notorious drug dealers. Any permutation of this is also possible – maybe he sold them some marijuana and stashed most of his drugs there while he went out selling.
Another thing that bugs me is why the hell would moderately well-off foreigners be willing to literally risk their lives selling meth. It just doesn’t make any sense. Jake Greevy – the head of this alleged cartel – has left a trail on Google inquiring into high-end condo rentals over the past few years – images of a few of those rental inquiries are actually playing as the backdrop to this video. To me, the risks of selling shabu FAR outweigh the middling returns on investment. And when I say risk I am not talking just about the possibility of life in prison; I’m referring here to the chance of literally losing your life in the country’s ongoing (and quite deadly) war on drugs.
Like I said before, it just doesn’t really seem to add up…
SPEAKING OF ADDING UP…
Now, as for foreign nationals arrested in the Philippines for drugs, I’ve actually put together some accumulated statistics. Keep in mind that these numbers are being reported out by Philippine government agencies.
As of June 2017, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency stated that 891 foreigners had been arrested for drugs since 2001 – that’s a 16-year period. Of that number, the majority of them are still in jail and/or facing life sentences. More than half of those arrested are from China. The total breakdown of those numbers look something like this:
African Nations 37
Hong Kong 12