3 suspected drug dealers killed in Surigao Norte this month

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/14 June)– Three suspected drug dealers have been killed in Surigao del Norte within the first week of this month, police said.

The latest incident occurred on June 7, in Barangay Bad-as, Placer town when unknown assailants shot dead Genesis Maarat Lebaste, 26, a resident of the place.

Police quoted Esmeraldo Lebaste, the victim’s father, as confirming that his son was indeed a drug dealer.

The day before Lebaste’s death, a suspected drug dealer identified as Dindo Besitula, 49, was ambushed in this city by gunmen aboard a motorcycle.

Besitula, a resident of Barangay San Juan, was driving a Honda Civic along Kaimo Street corner Narciso Street when the assailants struck. He sustained multiple gunshot wounds in the body.

His two companions, Rhea Mae Sandigan Patual and Jaime Parpan Argona, were unharmed.

Police recovered packs of suspected shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride), a .45 caliber pistol with live ammunition and a K-G9 submachine gun with 18 live ammunition.

Inspector Joel Cabanes, intelligence division chief of Surigao City Police Office said Besitula was elusive and the top drug dealer in Surigao del Norte.

Early in February police raided Besitula’s house but the suspect eluded arrest.

Police found in his house three packs of suspected shabu weighing a total of 300 grams but which turned out to be fake upon examination at the police laboratory.

Days after the raid, Besitula told reporters that he “planted” fake shabu because he knew he would be arrested.

“He was staying in one of the resorts in General Luna and reportedly dropping big packs of shabu to his local contacts in the town,” said General Luna Mayor Jaime P. Rusillon.

Rusillon, who was reelected as mayor in last month’s elections, said that if criminals have been killed in Davao City, there’s no reason it can’t be done in Surigao del Norte.

Police Officer 3 Asgar Elliot of General Luna Police Office said they had long wanted to arrest Besitula but he was too elusive.

“He even used speed boats and had close contacts with prominent persons in the island,” Elliot said.

“We got no problem now after he was slain in Surigao,” he said.

The first reported killing of a suspected drug dealer happened on June 2, in General Luna.

Police identified the victim as Recarido Antipasado, an employee at the town’s Municipal Agriculture Office, who was shot dead by unidentified gunmen.

Police Supt. James Mejia, police provincial director said they have yet to identify suspects in the killings. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)