Marijuana plants found inside condo unit of American in Cebu City

CEBU CITY, Philippines – A 75-year-old American was arrested by virtue of a search warrant for allegedly possessing marijuana plants and a growing kit inside his condominium unit in Barangay Kamputhaw, Cebu City on Wednesday evening, November 8, 2023.

 The subject of the operation was identified as 75-year-old William Lee Matteson, a pensioner from Nebraska, United States of America.

 Authorities raided Matteson’s condominium unit located along the Juana Osmeña Extension Road in Barangay Kamputhaw at around 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday.

 Operatives seized from the suspect three grown potted marijuana plants worth P1,200, 10 seedlings of marijuana plants with estimated market value of P400, one self-sealing plastic containing dried kush marijuana, and one self-sealing plastic containing 3 seeds of suspected marijuana plants.

 They also confiscated an indoor marijuana grow kit and equipment, one cellular phone, and other non-drug evidence from the arrested person’s residence.

 The raid, which lead to the arrest of one individual, was conducted by elements of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Cebu Provincial Office together with personnel from the Abellana Police Station.

 According to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Visayas (PDEA-7), the pieces of drug evidence recovered will be submitted to the laboratory for chemical analysis and proper disposition.

 The agency also disclosed that Matteson will most likely be facing charges of violation of the Section 16, Article 2 of the Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

 Section 16, which discusses the ‘Cultivation or Culture of Plants Classified as Dangerous Drugs or are Sources Thereof’ states that ‘any person who shall plant, cultivate or culture marijuana, opium poppy or any other plant regardless of quantity, which is or may hereafter, be classified as a dangerous drug or as a source, from which any dangerous drug may be manufactured or derived’ will be imposed with imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from P500,000 to P10,000,000.

 Leia Alcantara, PDEA-7 spokesperson, said that the operation stemmed from an information they received about the alleged suspect’s indoor marijuana grow kit, which he allegedly uses for his own consumption and to distribute to his foreigner contacts.

 She added that a total of 3-week buildup was conducted on the foreigner who has been living in Cebu since 2007 before the operation was put into action.