Anti-illegal narcotics officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) seized 229 kilos of suspected methampethamine hydrochloride (shabu) with an estimated street value of P1.58 billion in two coordinated buy-bust operations in Cavite on Thursday night, September 9.
In a report to PNP Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, the PNP Drug Enforcement Group (DEG) said the operations killed a certain Basher Bangon, 59, of Cagayan de Oro City, an alleged high-value target (HVT) who had a direct contact with a Chinese drug syndicate; and his cohort Danilo Untavar, 51, of Dasmarinas, Cavite.
Two alleged cohorts of Bangon, identified as couple Lani Micoleta, 45, and Aldwin Micoleta, 47, both from Imus, were also arrested in the operations.
Initial information from the PNP-DEG said the first buy-bust operation occured in Barangay Magdalo, Bahayan Pag-Asa in Imus town around 9:15 p.m.
Joint police and PDEA operatives who acted as poseur-buyers transacted with the Micoletas which resulted in the confiscation of 48 kilos of shabu worth P331.2 million.
However, the couple denied that the drugs were theirs as Aldwin claimed he was hired to drive a vehicle for deliveries. He said he was allowed to take home the vehicle, so he did, but he refused to admit that he knew there were boxes containing illegal drugs inside it.
The law enforcers then conducted a follow up operation at a warehouse in Molino 3, Bacoor around 9:30 p.m. where they were able to make contact and transact with Bangon and Untavar.
However, a firefight allegedly erupted between law enforcers and Bangon’s group as the suspects attempted to escape from their arrest.
Bangon and Untavar ended up dead after the shootout while 181 kilos of shabu worth P1.25 billion were seized from them, police said.
PDEA Region 4-A Director Juvenal Azurin said the site was used to stock drugs from the Golden Triangle Syndicate.
“Basher Bangon is a top level drug personality with direct contact [to] a Chinese syndicate. His main market [was in] the areas of Visayas and Mindanao,” the PNP-DEG said.
Meanwhile, the PNP-DEG noted that the Micoletas were Bangon’s distributors in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Calabarzon (Region 4A).
Eleazar said the two operations were part of the follow-up drug busts in Zambales and Bataan on Tuesday, September 7, which also led to the neutralization of seven big-time drug traffickers including Xu Youhua, who was tagged as the main contact of an international drug syndicate in the country.
The Sept. 7 buy-bust operations in Zambales and Bataan yielded 580 kilos of shabu worth more than P5.5 billion — the biggest drug haul for this year so far.