Good guy gone bad: Fisherman arrested for keeping some of cocaine he discovered floating in sea

Map of Tandag City. Photo: Google Maps
Map of Tandag City. Photo: Google Maps

He could’ve been a hero; instead, he ended up in jail.

A fisherman in Surigao who discovered and surrendered several cocaine bricks to authorities back in February was arrested yesterday after cops discovered that he didn’t return everything he’d found, allegedly holding back several bricks for himself that he hoped to sell.

Fisherman Ronie Navales, aware that he was under surveillance and apparently feeling the noose tightening, showed up at police headquarters and was arrested after surrendering four bricks of cocaine.

In February, the Bongtud village resident and another fisherman, Ryan Apelo, surrendered 34 bricks of cocaine to police which they said they found floating in the waters off Tandag City. However, the cops started becoming suspicious when they began hearing stories of coke being sold in the village after the bricks were surrendered. It was then that they started investigating Navales, SunStar Cagayan de Oro reported.

The four bricks of cocaine surrendered to the authorities yesterday wasn’t even the entire stash, according to ABS-CBN News, which reported that Navales confessed to flushing an addition two blocks down the toilet.

The cocaine has been turned over to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Authority (PDEA).

Since February, bricks of illegal drugs have been spotted near and in the waters of places such as Davao OrientalQuezon Province, Camarines Norte, Dinagat IslandsAurora, Siargao, and Surigao.

While the reasons remain unclear, there has been no shortage of theories as to why this is happening.

Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said in February that the blocks may have floated from Papua New Guinea, citing the fact that authorities there discovered cocaine similar in appearance to bricks discovered in the Philippines in September, CNN Philippines reported.

Another possibility, floated (see what we did there?) by PDEA Director Aaron Aquino, was that they were being used as decoys while a bigger shipment of drugs was smuggled into the country by syndicates.

From President Rodrigo Duterte’s perspective, however, the Columbian drug cartel in Medellin is responsible for the floating cocaine. He said in February that the cartel has entered the Philippines, a statement supported by the PDEA.

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