drug related crimes

DOJ recommends drug possession charges vs Canadian arrested in Tagaytay

Jairo Bolledo

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DOJ recommends drug possession charges vs Canadian arrested in Tagaytay

ARRESTED. Thomas Gordon O'Quinn, the Canadian tagged in the P9-B Batangas shabu haul, during a press conference in Camp Crame, Quezon City on May 20, 2024.


Thomas Gordon O'Quinn was also tagged in the P9-billion shabu haul in Alitagtag, Batangas, in April

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Justice prosecutors have recommended the filing of drug possession and other charges against Canadian Thomas Gordon O’Quinn who was arrested in Tagaytay City on May 16, the DOJ said on Wednesday, May 22.

“Finding that the evidence of the complainant sufficient and that respondent was validly arrested, criminal informations for two counts of violation of Section 11 (possession of dangerous drugs) of RA (Republic Act) No. 9165 and for the crime of use of fictitious names will be filed against respondent in the appropriate courts,” the DOJ said.

The justice department said O’Quinn – who was also tagged in the P9-billion shabu haul in Alitagtag, Batangas, in April – was found to have used false names and documents through the verification of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Bureau of Immigration.

He is also on the list of Interpol’s Red Notice and has a pending warrant of arrest in the United States for alleged violation of anti-drug laws.

On Friday, May 17, the National Capital Region Police Office announced the arrest of O’Quinn, who used the alias “James Toby Martin.” He was arrested during the May 16 operation at Nurture Spa and Wellness in Tagaytay City. He underwent inquest proceedings on Friday before DOJ prosecutors.

Police seized the following evidence during the operation against O’Quinn: multiple types of illegal drugs, electronic devices, and several identification documents bearing various aliases.

Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos said on Monday, May 21, that O’Quinn was allegedly implicated in the Batangas shabu haul. However, the cases that will be filed by the prosecutors stemmed from O’Quinn’s arrest in Tagaytay last week, and not yet in relation to the Batangas operation.

Authorities identified O’Quinnn as one of the possible cohorts of Michael Zarate Ajalon, who was arrested in the Batangas shabu haul on April 15. Police seized 1.4 tons of shabu, with an estimated value of P9.8 billion, after the Alitagtag police conducted a checkpoint operation based on intelligence that led to the illegal drugs’ seizure.

The Philippine National Police said that the suspected shabu tested positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride during an initial screening conducted by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

At first, the authorities said the illegal drugs was around 1.8 tons, with an estimated value of P13.3 billion. But in less than a week, authorities retracted their count of the seized drugs, raising questions about the integrity of the operation. – Rappler.com

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.