3 drug suspects killed, 3 cops wounded in Surigao shootout

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/09 February) — At least three suspects in a drug raid were killed and two of their companions surrendered to authorities after nearly four hours of shootout with law enforcers on Friday night.

Police said they raided, along with personnel from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) an apartment in Bernadette Village in Barangay Luna, this city,  the den of suspected big-time drug suppliers in the city.

Police Chief Inspector Rudy Elandag, officer-in-charge of Surigao City Police Station said the team served the search warrant at around 9 in the evening Friday but when they arrived, the suspects open fired, wounding police officers.

Elandag said that during the nearly four-hour shootout, police killed three male suspects. But three police officers were injured:  Senior Police Officer 1 Ricky Caneda, whose left knee was hit; Police Inspector Alvin T. Caballes, whose right leg was hit; and Police Inspector Paul Micheal G. Neffee, whose left shoulder was slightly wounded.

Police were unable to identify the suspects and their places of origin but Rico Nagas,  barangay captain of Luna, said the suspects were reportedly from Marawi City.

PDEA agents arrested a female who was with the suspects during the shootout but she managed to flee the apartment, Elandag said. The still unidentified woman was brought to the PDEA in Butuan City for investigation.

The four-hour hour firefight terrified residents of Bernadette Village.

Mary Margaret Paredes said the exchange of gunshots scared her and other members of her family.

Police said the suspects rented a small room in the apartment but have reportedly been on surveillance.

Ronald Barthram, a British national who owns the apartment rented by the suspects were shocked.

“We were running towards our room when we saw several persons running inside the house with guns, I thought they would kidnap me,” Barthram told MindaNews.

Barthram’s apartment is located a few meters from his residence.

He said the apartment rented by the suspects used to be his wife Laurita Pavo’s  convenience store.

They closed the store because it was not earning and had the space rented out.

The suspects have been occupying the space since October in 2013, paying 5,000 pesos a month.

Bartham said the police who came were in plainclothes and guided them into the bathroom for their safety.

“It’s really unbelievable, it was a horrible experience hearing the exchange of gunfire for almost four hours. It scared me to death,” Barthram added.

After the firefight, police recovered two ice-water plastic bags containing suspected shabu, 14 sachets of suspected shabu, PhP 124,900 cash in different denominations, one unit digital weigh scale, box containing plastic, one roll of aluminum foil, one unit of KG9 with silencer, two magazines of KG9; one caliber .45, two magazines of caliber .45; several empty cartridges and deformed slugs. (Roel N. Catoto / MindaNews)