American held in Basilan for illegal drugs

RJ Rosalado, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 18 2017 10:42 PM

Thomas James Papalla

A 46-year-old American was arrested by the police in Isabela City, Basilan last Friday, after it was discovered that he has a standing arrest warrant for possession of illegal drugs.

According to Senior Inspector Shellamie Chang, spokersperson of Zamboanga City Police Office, Thomas James Papalla was first held by local policemen in Isabela City after questioning his presence in a province where the Abu Sayyaf operates. 

The terror group has for many years now kidnapped and killed a number of foreigners and locals in Basilan. 

Chang said, after verification, they found that Papalla has a standing arrest warrant for violation of Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, particularly Section 11, 
on possession of dangerous drugs.

Papalla was charged in Naga City in November this year. 

In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Papalla admitted that he was caught with illegal drugs in Naga City. 

He said he tried but failed to sneak into Malaysia by passing through the southern backdoor. 

Papalla said he once worked as a waiter in one of the hotels in the US, before he found himself handling illegal drugs here in the Philippines.

He also admitted that he had been using marijuana back in the US, but claimed that it was part of a medical treatment.

Papalla failed to present his passport and other travel documents to the police, although he claimed that he had all these documents with him.

Chang said Papalla will be brought to Naga City within this week to face the charges filed against him.

She added the deportation process will start after the final resolution of the case in court.