THE number of confessed drug dealers and users who have surrendered to the police in Mimaropa region since the start of the Philippine National Police Oplan: Tokhang last July 1 yesterday rose to nearly 18,000, Police Regional Office 4-B director Chief Superintendent Wilben M. Mayor said.
The official said that on the 9th week of the implementation of the massive anti-drug campaign ordered by PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” M. dela Rosa, 279 more drug personalities in the region yielded to the local police.
At least 255 of the 279 are confessed drug users while the other 24 are confessed drug traffickers in the region.
Mayor said they have also arrested 189 known drug personalities in the region thru the conduct of buy-bust operations, service of search warrants and warrants of arrest and police responses during the period.
Another four armed drug dealers in the region have also been killed in gunfights with undercover officers since July 1, the latest of them Ronnel Castillo, a resident of Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro, who was gunned down by members of the Victoria Municipal Police Station during a buy-bust operation last Wednesday.
The suspect was about to be arrested by officers from the Victoria police, the Mindoro Oriental Police Provincial Office and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency when he refused to yield peacefully and fired his cal. .38 revolver at the lawmen.
Officers returned fire and hit the suspect, who eventually was found in possession of a cal. .38 revolver with three live ammunition, the marked money paid to him by the poseur and three plastic sachets of shabu.
Mayor said the suspect hid in a swamp but was later found with gunshot wounds.
He was taken to a local hospital where an attending physician declared him dead upon arrival.
The former PNP spokesman said they have also accounted for several ‘high-value drug targets’ in the region, the latest of them Lorna Manalo Macan, a barangay councilman of Bgy. Libis in Calapan City, who was arrested last Monday by local PNP and PDEA agents during an entrapment operation.
The suspect yielded eight sachets of shabu and the buy-bust money.