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Village councilor falls in buy-bust

COTABATO CITY – After weeks of surveillance operations, anti-narcotics operatives on Thursday arrested a Lanao del Sur barangay councilor and two others during a buy-bust operation in Parang, Maguindanao.

Juvenal Azurin, director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, identified the suspects as Ronnie Maruhom, a barangay councilor Malabang, Lanao del Sur, and Risoli Maruhom and Samsudin Kamid, also residents of Malabang.

Seized from them in the 9:30 p.m. buy-bust operation in front of a gasoline station in Barangay Poblacion was suspected shabu worth P6.8 million, a sports utility vehicle, and a paper bag that contained one genuine P1,000 bill on top of other photocopied P1,000 bills used by the PDEA in the buy-bust transaction.

“We received a tip about an impending transport of illegal drugs from Lanao del Sur,” Azurin said.

He said a PDEA agent posed as a highly-interested buyer of one kilogram of shabu and negotiated with the suspects through mobile phone and agreed to meet between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Prior to the arrival of the suspects, a team of PDEA agents and provincial and municipal police personnel positioned themselves around the gas station, Azurin said.

After one of the suspects handed over the illegal drugs and received the P2-million buy-bust money, anti-narcotics agents quickly collared the three men.

Azurin said the suspects did not resist arrest and were unarmed. “They were surprised to find out they were dealing with a PDEA agent,” he added. (PNA)