‘Drug queen’ now in US: PNP

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    SUSPECTED “drug queen” Guia Gomez-Castro has escaped to the United States of America via Los Angeles, California, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar yesterday said.

    In an interview over ANC’s Headstart, Eleazar said records show that Castro first flew to Bangkok, Thailand last September 21 where she stayed for a few days. On the morning of September 25, she flew to Taiwan where she took a flight bound for Los Angeles in California, USA in the afternoon. She supposedly arrived at her destination at around midnight.

    Eleazar said law enforcement agencies are now coordinating with their US counterparts for the arrest and extradition of Castro. The Philippines and the USA has an extradition treaty.

    Police Brig. Gen. Vicente Danao, Manila Police District director, was the first police officer who publicly disclosed the identity of Castro as the drug queen mentioned by Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino during a Senate hearing on the proposed budget of his agency.

    Aquino had then refused to name Castro on grounds that surveillance operations on her and her cohorts will be compromised once her identity is made public.

    Aquino said the alleged drug queen connived with “ninja cops” in the recycling of confiscated illegal drugs. The rogue cops, added the PDEA chief, protected the lady mastermind and tipped her on scheduled drug busts and raids against her operations.

    Eleazar said Castro must have panicked when her operations were exposed by Aquino, and more so when her identity was made public. He noted that the suspect left the country two or three days after the issue on her links with ninja cops was revealed to senators.

    Castro supposedly has a brother who is a police officer and who has now already joined her in the US. His identity was withheld by Eleazar.

    Eleazar claimed Castro’s connection with ninja cops started when she supposedly had an affair with the “founder” of the rogue group sometime in the year 2000.

    He refused to name the alleged founder, whom he said had already retired from service, but said investigators are already building up cases against him.

    He said Castro was initially an “asset” or informant of the group leader and later became part of the drug distribution business.

    Eleazar said he has ordered his men to find out the status of the drug cases filed against Castro before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, which has issued an arrest warrant against her on March 1, 2002.

    He said the two other warrants of arrest issued against Castro were in connection with the same case of violation of Batas Pambansa 22 or the bouncing check law.

    PNP-PDEA RIFT

    The ninja cops issue has seemingly created a rift between PNP and the PDEA, but which Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has dismissed and denied.

    Año said the alleged rift between the PNP and PDEA was only a public perception.

    “That is only public perception because it seems that the two agencies have been exchanging words. I have talked to PNP chief Oscar Albayalde and PDEA chief Aaron Aquino and they are very professionals,” Año said in Filipino.

    He said as men in uniform, it is just “normal” for them to engage in heated “arguments in front of the conference table but there is nothing personal” between them.

    Eleazar echoed Año’s statement that there is no rift between the PNP and PDEA.

    “I only defended the PNP when PDEA said that recycling of illegal drugs is still rampant today. That allegation is very far-fetched today,” Eleazar said.

    The alleged rift became apparent after the PNP recalled the 12 police security escorts assigned to Aquino last September 18, saying the escorts will be given assignments for the South East Asian Games to be held in Central Luzon from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.

    Aquino hit the move and said his disclosures on the continued existence of the ninja cops and Castro’s unimpeded operations must have embarrassed the PNP, who allegedly got back at him by recalling his escorts.

    Aquino “forced” his 12 police security escorts to report back to him after securing a verbal approval from President Duterte.

    Albayalde denied the allegation, saying the recall or return of the escorts was the call of Brig. Gen. Joel Napoleon Coronel, Police Regional Office 3 (Central Luzon) director, as the latter will need more men to secure the delegates of the SEA Games.

    Aside from this, Albayalde said Aquino has too many police escorts violated the two limits set by law.

    Año said he will not interfere with the policies of the PNP regarding the assignments of police escorts.

    “It’s the call of the PNP and Gen. Albayalde,” Año said. – With Rod Lagusad