GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/07 November) — Three suspected illegal drug pushers were killed in a shootout with police anti-drug operatives in an outskirt village here on Friday night.
Chief Insp. Lauro Espida, city police station number 07 chief, said Saturday the encounter happened during a drug buy-bust operation launched by joint police units in an alleged drug den in Purok 3, Block 0 in Barangay Fatima at around 6:45 p.m.
He identified the slain alleged drug pushers as Jolie Bustamante, 40; Lloyd Besta, 30; and, Ron Panes, 48, who were all residents of the area.
Espida said the shootout ensued after the suspects noticed the presence of police operatives during the buy-bust operation, which was led by the Police Regional Office 12’s Regional Special Investigation and Detection Team (RSDIT).
“They resisted and opened fire at our operatives, triggering a brief shootout,” he said in a radio interview.
Espida said the suspects sustained gunshot wounds in different parts of their bodies and were declared dead upon arrival at the General Santos City Hospital.
He said no casualties were reported among the police operatives, who recovered from the scene nine sachets of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, a caliber .45 handgun and grenade.
Chief Insp. Maximo Sebastian, RSIDT head, said they have been monitoring the movements of the three suspects based on a tip from a local informant.
He said they decided to launch the operation after confirming the involvement of the suspects in the illegal drug trade in the area.
Police and other anti-drug enforcement units have stepped up their operations in the city in the last several weeks due to the noted surge in illegal drug-related activities.
Last week, elements from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Region 12 arrested an alleged big time drug pusher and recovered around P1 million worth of shabu in a buy-bust operation at an urban village here.
Agent Vince Lachica, PDEA-12 information officer, said they arrested suspect Roel Carcelar at his residence in Purok Silway, Barangay Dadiangas West.
Recovered from the suspect, who is facing multiple drug charges, were 130 sachets of shabu, various drug paraphernalia and marked money. (MindaNews)