Ex-soldier nabbed for drugs, weapons in North Cotabato

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 28 February) – Elements of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Region 12 and police personnel from Makilala in North Cotabato arrested a former soldier in an anti-drug operation around 2:30 a.m. Friday, a police official said.

Major Arniel Melocotones, chief of the Makilala police station, identified the suspect as Ruel Lastimado, 49, a former member of the Philippine Army and former barangay councilor of Barangay San Vicente, Makilala.

Melocotones said the suspect has been in their watch list for several months now.

Seized from Lastimado’s possession were 12 heat-sealed sachets of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, an improvised Uzi firearm with several rounds of ammunition and a fragmentation grenade.

The suspect did not resist arrest when authorities presented a warrant from the local court to search his house and premises.

Lastimada told the raiding team that as a former military man he has kept inside his house the firearm, grenade and ammunition.

Melocotones, however, said he has yet to know if the weapons were licensed.

Lastimada was placed under the custody of Makilala police pending the filing of complaints for drug trafficking and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. (Malu Cadeliña-Manar/MindaNews)