Maasim barangay chair among four nabbed in anti-illegal drugs raid

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 12 August) — Joint operatives recovered around P525,000 worth of suspected metamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, several high-powered firearms, ammunition and explosives in separate raids Saturday against four alleged members of a notorious drug group operating in Sarangani province, among them a barangay chair.

Gil Cesario Castro, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Region 12 director, said they seized the illegal items from the houses of a barangay chair and three other residents of Maasim town in Sarangani who were reportedly part of the Primo Drug Group.

The operations were led by PDEA personnel and backed by elements from the Army-led Joint Task Force GenSan, police’s 42nd Special Action Company, Sarangani police’s provincial drug enforcement unit-provincial intelligence branch, Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.

Armed with four search warrants, the operatives initially stormed the house of barangay chair Rajik Kudarat of Barangay Tinoto, Maasim at around 2:40 a.m.

Seized from Kudarat’s house were around 15 grams of suspected shabu worth around P75,000, one unit of caliber 9mm Ingram MII and a 5.56 MMK2 rifle, a 9mm bullet magazine, 19 rounds of caliber 9mm ammunition, a 5.56 rifle magazine with 22 rounds of ammunition, and one bullet bandolier.

Castro said the 42 year-old suspect, whom he tagged as a “high-value target, is currently on his second term as chair of Barangay Tinoto.

At around 3:30 a.m., the team searched the residence of businessman Romeo Gulam, 42, in the same barangay, he said.

The operation resulted to the recovery of about 10 grams of suspected shabu worth around P50,000, two units of Elisco M-16 rifle each loaded with a magazine, a colt M-16 rifle loaded with magazine, a caliber .30 carbine, assorted ammunition, an M-16 airsoft rifle, at caliber .45 airsoft handgun, and various drug paraphernalia.

Castro said the raiding team then proceeded at around 5:45 a.m. to the main house of couples Jhon Hailen alias Juior Hailen, 40, and Rosatima Hailen, 40. He said they found three large sachets of suspected shabu weighing about 80 gram and valued at around P400,000, some P352,000 cash, and a fragmentation grenade.

Recovered from another house owned by the Hailens were a caliber .45 high cap Norinco handgun and several live ammunition.

Citing their investigation, Castro said barangay chair Kudarat and the three other suspects were members of the Primo Drug Group.

He said the four, who are currently detained at the PDEA-12 lockup here, were behind the operations of the group in Maasim and the neighboring municipalities in Sarangani.

The official said multiple charges for violations of Republic Act (RA) 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 and RA 10591 for illegal possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives will be filed against the suspects.

“We will be targeting (more) narco-politicians in the coming days. We will not stop until the last elected official violating RA 9165 and other drug group members within in our territorial jurisdiction would be arrested,” Castro added.  (MindaNews)