CABIAO, Nueva Ecija -- Three barangay chairmen in Nueva Ecija, tagged as high-value targets (HVT) in the war against illegal drugs in this town, were nabbed during separate search operations on their premises which yielded illegal drugs last Sunday.
Provincial police director Senior Supt. Antonio C. Yarra yesterday identified those nabbed as Barangay Captains Noel Amurao, 37, of Bgy. San Fernando Sur; Armando Esmeralda, 45, of Bgy. Natividad North; and Vladimir Velasquez, 40, of Bgy. San Juan North.
A fourth target of the drug operations yielded negative results. During the search, Yarra said no illegal drugs were found in the house of Eduardo Teves, barangay kagawad of Bagong Buhay. Teves was allegedly ranked eighth in the HVT list.
During the same “one-time, big-time” police operation, Amurao’s father, Bue-naventura, was arrested, said Yarra.
Yarra said his men led by the Provincial Intelligence Branch under Supt. Alexander C. Aurelio, the Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit under Senior Insp. Arnel V. Aguilar, in coordination with the local police and the Regional Office 3 of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, conducted the search operations based on four warrants issued against the suspects.
Amurao’s house was searched for illegal firearms but it instead yielded two plastic sachets containing suspected shabu worth P1,000.
Aurelio said the suspect’s father could be slapped with obstruction of justice.
A search on Esmeralda’s house yielded four plastic sachets containing alleged shabu with a street value of P2,000 while three plastic sachets with alleged shabu worth P1,500 were seized at the premises of Velasquez.
Police records show that Amurao was listed no. 9 in the high-value target list. He surrendered under Oplan Tokhang on July 13, 2016.
Esmeralda was ranked no. 10 in the HVT list and also gave himself up under Oplan Tokhang on July 13, 2016 while Velasquez, who surrendered on July 12, 2016, was also among those included in the HVT list.
Aurelio said the suspects were also among those included in the top 10 priority list for drug neutralization in the provincial level.
He said the suspects and the seized evidence were brought to the police station for proper disposition.