Balamban shootout update: Suspects used minors to hide their illegal drug business
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The suspected drug dealers, who were wounded in last Saturday’s (August 19) shootout in Balamban town with policemen, used minors to hide their illegal drug activities.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Glenn Hife, Balamban Police Station chief, said this when asked what the three 15-year-old girls were doing inside the car of suspected drug dealers, who were then selling illegal drugs.
Minors used as front for drug business
The suspected drug dealers were Richard Moscoso and Rex Ledesma and Moscoso’s live-in partner, Arianne Blaire Navales, who were all wounded in the shootout with policemen.
Hife confirmed that three minors were inside the car of the three suspected pushers during the buy-bust operation in Barangay Pondol in Balamban, the car chase that happened after, and the shootout between the police and the suspects when they were cornered in Barangay Cambuhawi also in Balamban town.
“Dili na bag-o ni nga style nga ifront nila (ang mga menor de edad). Mao na ni ang (pagbaligya og) drugs karon. Mogamit og menor de edad aron di mahalata sa pulis,” he said.
(This is not a new style where they would use them (the minors) as a front. That is of style (of selling) drugs now. They will use minors to hide their illegal activities from the police.)
“Gidala dala nila ang mga menor de edad para di mahalata ang ilang ilegal (nga negosyo),” the police chief said.
(They brought along the minors so that their illegal business would not be easily recognized.)
One female minor wounded
During the shootout in Barangay Cambuhawi in Balamban town with pursuing policemen, one of the minors was wounded in the leg.
Hife said that the minor was released from the hospital today, August 21, and was turned over to Balamban town’s Municipal Social Welfare and Development (MSWD).
The two other minors, who were in the car during the shootout and got out of it unscathed, were earlier turned over to the town’s MSWD.
Three suspected pushers wounded
Hife also said that Ledesma, one the three suspected drug dealers, who was wounded in the shootout and admitted in the hospital for treatment, had already been released from the hospital. He was detained at the Balamban Police Station detention cell pending the filing of charges.
Moscoso and Navales were still confined at the hospital since they were still recuperating from their wounds, the police chief said.
Moscoso was hit in the left side of his body while Navales, who was driving the car during the shootout, was wounded in the left side of the body, her leg and her arm.
Charges set to be filed
Hife said that they were preparing charges against Moscoso, Ledesma and Navales.
Charges readied against suspects
He also said that they would likely file the complaints
The police chief also said that they would likely file the complaints of illegal possession of firearms, selling and possession of drugs against the suspects on Wednesday, August 23, or on Thursday, August 24.
How Balamban shootout happened
The three suspects were the target of a buy-bust operation last Saturday evening (August 19) by the Balamban policemen in Barangay Pondol.
But Moscoso and Ledesma, who were allegedly selling the illegal drugs, realized that they were transacting with a policeman, they promptly ended the transaction and hurriedly entered the car, which was driven by Navales, and fled the area.
The police team pursued them and a car chase ensued, ending at Barangay Cambuhawi where a mobile patrol car blocked the road, stopping the suspect’s car at past 11 p.m.
Some of the pursuing policemen then parked their motorcycles at the back of the suspect’s car and got off when suddenly the driver of the car put the car in reverse and crashed into the motorcycles parked behind the car.
Start of shootout
It was also at this point when Moscoso and Ledesma started firing at the policemen.
The policemen managed to take cover and returned fire.
The shootout lasted for a few minutes ending with the suspects wounded inside the car.
Moscoso, who was unscathed at that time, got off the car and tried to flee on foot but he was shot in the back by the policemen.
Those wounded were rushed to the hospital for treatment.
How much, where are the drugs now?
As for the illegal drugs confiscated from the suspects after the shootout, Hife said that he still did not know yet how much was the worth of the confiscated illegal drugs.
He said that this was still in the custody of the members of the Scene of the Crime Operatives, who processed the crime scene at that time.
Initial reports, however, showed that 38 sachets and 4 medium size plastic packs of suspected shabu were taken from the suspects.
Police also recovered two guns — a .45 caliber pistol and a .22 caliber revolver — that Ledesma and Moscoso used in the shootout.
Police also confiscated the suspects’ vehicle — the grey Mistubishi Mirage G4.
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