3 drug suspects nabbed in South Cotabato

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 12 March) – Anti-drug operatives arrested two alleged members of an illegal drug group and another suspected pusher in separate raids on Sunday in Sto. Niño town in South Cotabato province.

Valente Cariño, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Region 12 director, said Monday the suspects were nabbed during a series of pre-dawn search operations in Barangay Ambalgan, Sto. Niño.

The operations were led by PDEA-12 personnel and backed by elements from the Police Regional Office 12’s Regional Mobile Force Battalion, South Cotabato Police Drug Enforcement Unit, South Cotabato Police Mobile Force Company and the Sto. Niño municipal police station.

Armed with search warrants, he said the joint operatives initially stormed two houses in Purok 10X10, Ambagan owned by suspected pushers Ibrahim Ambalgan alias Mastura Ambalgan, 40, and Alvin Balao, 43.

Seized from Ambalgan’s house was a pack of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu weighing about 25 grams and valued at around P125,000, he said.

He said the search at Balao’s house resulted in the recovery of some 10 grams of suspected shabu valued at P50,000, a caliber 45 handgun, 10 pieces of live ammunition, a piece of 10-rounder magazine and one piece of black gun holster.

In a subsequent search operation in Purok Bago, Barangay Ambalgan, Cariño said the operatives arrested suspected female pusher Baibon Pindawata, 44.

Seized from the suspect was a gram of suspected shabu with an estimated market value of P5,000, he said.

The official said Ambalgan and Pindawata were included in their top target list of drug personalities in the area.

Citing their investigation, he said the two were alleged members of the Ambalgan Drug Group that operates in parts of South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat provinces.

Cariño said Balao was a known drug pusher and included in the town’s drug watch list.

He said the three suspects would be charged with violation of Section 11 or possession of dangerous drugs, under Article II of Republic Act (RA) 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Another case for violation of RA 10591 or illegal possession of firearms and ammunition will be filed against Balao, he said.

“Rest assured that the efforts and hard work of our law enforcers to catch these suspects will not be wasted. These personalities will be placed behind the bars as sanctioned by the law,” Cariño said. (MindaNews)