INTERPOL authorities have taken custody of captured suspected Eastern Visayas drug lord Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa and are helping Abu Dhabi officials investigate possible violation of immigration laws he committed while hiding in the oil-rich city, Philippine National Police officials said yesterday.
According to PNP spokesman Senior Supt. Dionardo B. Carlos, the young Espinosa was transferred to the custody of the Interpol by Abu Dhabi officials and will be remanded to the custody of the PNP by the Interpol as soon as his investigation in Abu Dhabi is over.
“Sabi ng ating chief PNP, it may take about several weeks. Sana mapabilis iyung proseso ng deportation at ma-determine na wala siyang kasong haharapin sa UAE,” the PNP spokesperson said.
A PNP team headed by PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group director Senior Supt. Albert Ignatius D. Ferro returned to the country on Thursday last week without Espinosa.
The police team will be waiting for an advisory from the Philippine Embassy for the decision on the case of Espinosa who is being held at the maximum-security Al Wathba jail.
As soon as Abu Dhabi authorities frees him within the next few weeks, the PNP team will return to Abu Dhabi to escort Espinosa to Manila where he will be initially taken to the PNP national headquarters in Camp Crame for questioning before being transferred to the custody of the Police Regional Office 8 headed by Chief Supt., Elmer C. Beltejar.
Officials said Espinosa -- described as the most wanted “high-value” drug target in the Philippines -- could be released not later than a month’s time since Abu Dhabi authorities are still digging deeper into who provided him sanctuary in the oil-rich Arab state.
Officials said Abu Dhabi officials also want to find out the people who helped Espinosa flee to Abu Dhabi and stay there for weeks until his cover was blown.
Sources said Espinosa faces some penalty and even a jail term for violating Abu Dhabi’s immigration laws but his immediate return to the country will depend on arrangements between Manila and Abu Dhabi.
The Bureau of Immigration said the young Espinosa left the Philippines for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last June 21.
There were reports however that he went to Abu Dhabi via Hong Kong.
Shortly after he assumed the presidency, President Duterte accused Espinosa of running a big-time drug syndicate in the Visayas and issued a shoot-to-kill order against the suspected drug lord after the latter ignored calls to surrender.