Fisherman arrested for keeping 6 out of 40 cocaine blocks he found in Surigao waters

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 13) — A fishermen who earlier turned over 34 blocks of cocaine to the Surigao del Sur police is now facing charges for keeping six bricks of the illegal substance.

In a press release Friday, the Caraga regional police identified the "Good Samaritan"-turned-suspect as Ronie Arpilleda Navales, 48. Police said Navales violated Section 11 of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 for illegal possession of drugs, an act that is punishable with life imprisonment.

On February 23, Navales, along with another fishermen turned over to authorities cocaine bricks weighing 43.62 kilograms, which police said can be worth around ₱231 million. The fishermen said they found the blocks in waters off Purok Santan, Barangay Bungtod in Tandag City.

Police said Navales "intentionally kept" the six bricks to sell them. He was put under surveillance after the police received reports that cocaine was being sold in the province.

Navales later turned himself in, surrendering four cocaine bricks. He said the other two were "flushed in the toilet bowl," police said.

In February, police found nearly 165 kilograms of cocaine in a number of coastal villages with an estimated value of over ₱871 million. The Philippine National Police said blocks with the same packaging as the cocaine bricks found in the country's eastern seaboard were discovered in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands last year.

Caraga police chief Gilberto Cruz urged the public to "not be blinded by the greed of money for it will only bring trouble to you and your family."

Street value of cocaine in the Philippines ranges from ₱4,500 to ₱5,300 per gram - over a thousand pesos cheaper than the prevalent shabu.