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Espinosa drug group back in action in Leyte?

TACLOBAN CITY—Provincial police here are watching remnants of the notorious Espinosa drug group that have reportedly resumed their operation in Leyte province.

Senior Supt. Norberto Tuazon, Leyte Police director, said they are validating reports that the gang of self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa has regrouped in his hometown of Albuera, Leyte.

Kerwin, currently detained at the National Bureau of Investigation, is the son of slain Albuera mayor Rolando Espinosa, who was killed in a raid inside his detention cell in Baybay, Leyte on Nov. 5, 2016.

The Eastern Visayas Police reported that the Espinosa group was supplying 30 to 50 kilograms of shabu every month in the region during Kerwin’s heyday.

Tuazon said they have been closely monitoring terminals, ports, airports, nightclubs, and other establishments to prevent the recurrence of illegal drugs here.

Leyte is merely a transshipment point for illegal drugs since they have not monitored the presence of laboratories in the area, Tuazon told the Philippine News Agency.

He noted that the strict enforcement of anti-drug laws and successful implementation of the war against drugs have resulted in a significant drop in illegal drugs in Leyte.

Meanwhile, in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, simultaneous anti-illegal drug raids led by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency yielded 69 sachets of suspected shabu.

Wilkins M. Villanueva, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Region 10 director, said a joint team of PDEA and Philippine National Police personnel arrested three suspects who were subjects of separate search warrants simultaneously served at around 4:15 a.m. Monday.

PDEA 10 identified the suspects as Virgo Gempisao, 47, married, of Purok 2, Barangay Dalwangan; Angel Mutia, 38, married, of World War II Heroes St., Barangay 7; and John Palamine, 20, single, of Phase I, NHA, Casisang. PNA

The suspects are all on PDEA’s list of drug personalities in the region.

Authorities seized from Gempisao 26 plastic sachets containing suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride weighing around 15 grams, and drug paraphernalia. The confiscated suspected shabu has an estimated street value of P75,000.

According to PDEA, Gempisao is classified as a financier, user and pusher.

Mutia yielded 14 sachets of suspected shabu, around 10 grams with an estimated street value of P50,000, and drug paraphernalia. PDEA classified him as user and pusher.

Authorities said they recovered from Palamine, the third suspect, 29 sachets of suspected shabu weighing seven grams and valued at P35,000, and paraphernalia. 

Palamine is a college student who PDEA also classified as a user and pusher.

As of 4:40 p.m. on Monday, PDEA said the suspects along with the seized evidence were brought to PDEA 10 Regional Laboratory Service for examination.

Topics: Leyte province , Senior Supt. Norberto Tuazon , Kerwin Espinosa , National Bureau of Investigation , Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency

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