AGENTS of the Central Visayas police force shot dead an armed ‘high-value’ drug target during a gun battle in San Fernando, Cebu on Wednesday afternoon amid a series of simultaneous anti-narcotics operations in the province since Christmas Day which had already led in the seizure of nearly P50 million worth of shabu, Police Regional Office 7 director, Chief Superintendent Debold M. Sinas said yesterday.
Sinas said suspect Richard Rivera Sangkap alias ‘DK’ engaged undercover officer of the Drug Enforcement Unit of the Cebu City Police Office and the San Fernando Municipal Police Station in a firefight in Sitio Felomina in Barangay Sangat in San Fernando at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday and was killed in the process.
“The suspect had just sold drugs to a poseur when he sensed the sting and shot it out with the lawmen. He suffered gunshot wounds in the body and died while being taken to a local hospital,” the official said.
Recovered from the slain suspect’s possession were three plastic packets containing around 300 grams of suspected shabu with a local market value of P2 million, two caliber .45 pistols and one cal. .38 revolver, assorted live ammunition, P10,250 in different denominations and the boodle money topped by marked bills which was paid to him by an undercover officer.
According to Sinas, the suspect is an ‘HVT’ included on the list of the PRO7 Regional Intelligence Division. A former Oplan: Tokhang surrenderer, the slain suspect is a known member of the notorious Franz Sabalunes Drug Group operating in Cebu and is said to be using his fishing boat as a ‘front’ in his illegal drug activities.
The official said the suspect fled Cebu City and lived in San Fernando, Cebu where he continued his illicit drug activities until last Wednesday’s sting.
Sinas said that on Christmas Day, members of the Cebu City Police Office led by Chief Inspector Hendrix Bancoleta arrested Remelyn Fernandez, 33, and Michael Torreon, 39, both residents of Bgy. Pasil after they conspired to sell 200 grams of the so-called ‘poor man’s cocaine’ worth P1.36 million to a poseur.
He said the duo was arrested after Fernandez was identified by Bejie Boy Bacalla as the main source of the six kilograms of shabu valued at nearly P40 million which were recovered from him during an earlier sting.
Sinas said they are still tracking down one Archel Romo who was identified as a major supplier of the trio.
He added that shortly after 12 a.m. yesterday, the Cebu City police headed by Senior Supt. Royina Garma launched simultaneous anti-narcotics operations in the city which as of 3 in the afternoon had already led in the arrest of over a dozen suspects and the seizure of around P900,000 worth of shabu and several unlicensed firearms.