An American says he was framed after police found illegal drugs during a raid on his apartment in Dumaguete City.
Joint police and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) operatives launched the raid early this morning (Tuesday, April 24).
James Thomas Hobert, aged 47, who hails from Iowa, was arrested at his Pinero Subdivision home in the Mangnao district of the city.
Recovered during the search were one plastic sachet believed to contain shabu (methamphetamine), four elongated heat-sealed plastic sachets, one plastic sachet with residues, an improvised ‘tooter’, cigarette lighters, more than 1,000 pesos in cash, tinfoil, a Samsung cellphone and empty plastic sachets.
Mr Hobert strongly denied having any knowledge of the recovered drugs and paraphernalia, saying that somebody may have found a way into his house to plant the pieces of evidence.
When interviewed, he claimed that his son had lost his keys to the home.
However, he refused to name the person he suspected of planting the evidence, saying he feared for his life. “Somebody must be in the house and I can’t say who that person is, or else my life will be over,” he told investigating officers.
PDEA agent Phil Tangeres said that his team had applied for a search warrant after a surveillance operation confirmed tip-offs from neighbours that drugs were being used on the premises.
Team leader Inspector Allen June Germodo said Mr Hobert was the subject of a failed buy-bust operation a few months previously.
He also said that another foreigner, of unknown nationality, was involved in the American’s alleged illegal activities.
Insp. Germodo added that he considered Mr Hobert to be a “high-value target”.
During the search, two women were said to be inside the rented apartment, but their relationship to the suspect has not been revealed.