Jailed Espinosa drug gang member shot dead
TACLOBAN CITY — An alleged member of the dreaded Espinosa drug group was killed on Friday during an alleged shootout with policemen who raided his cell inside the city jail of Baybay, about 110 km from the regional center.
Fernando Balagbis died on the spot due to multiple bullet wounds after he allegedly put up a fight when a joint team from the Baybay City police and the Eastern Visayas Regional Anti-Drug Special Operations Task Force implemented the warrant to search his cell at 2:55 a.m. on Friday, on suspicion that he was selling drugs inside the jail.
PO3 Noel Aranas of the Baybay police said Balagbis was part of the drug syndicate led by Rolando “Kerwin” Espinosa Jr., who was tagged as the number one drug lord in Eastern Visayas and was in hiding for several months until he was arrested in Abu Dhabi last Oct. 17.
Balagbis was a known drug pusher in Baybay City and had been in and out of the city jail; the last time was on Jan. 29 when he was jailed anew on drug charges, added Aranas.
After receiving information that he was selling drugs inside the jail, the Baybay police secured a search warrant on Oct. 25 from Judge Janet Cabalona of Regional Trial Court Branch 33 based in Calbiga town, Samar, to search his cell.
Aranas said a team of policemen went inside his cell early Friday to serve the warrant. The inmates were ordered to drop on the floor, but Balagbis allegedly fired at the policemen, prompting them to shoot back.
“He ran toward the toilet inside their cell where he was later found dead due to bullet wounds from the raiding group,” he said in a phone interview on Saturday. The police recovered inside Balagbis’ cell shabu placed inside sachets of toothpaste and shampoo, and a .45 caliber pistol loaded with five bullets that was allegedly used by the suspect. Four empty shells were also recovered at the crime scene.
It was still not known where he got his firearm.
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