CAMP VICENTE LIM—Authorities are setting their sights on a bank robbery group in their investigation of the operation to spring several Chinese drug convicts from jail by snatching them from their jail guards in Cavite.
The plan to take Chinese detainees Li Lan Yan, his wife Wang Li Na and Li Tian Hua was hatched as early as 2011 when members of the robbery group were arrested and revealed their mission to authorities, according to a police source privy to the 2011 incident and last Wednesday’s snatching of the detainees.
The source, who asked that he not be named for lack of authority to speak on the matter, on Thursday said the “contract for the rescue” of the Chinese drug dealers was worth P25 million.
The source, however, withheld the name of the crime group so as not to jeopardize the police operation to recapture the freed Chinese nationals.
Li Lan Yan, also known as Jackson Dy, is the leader and operator of a shabu laboratory in Tanza, Cavite, that authorities shut down in 2008. Authorities also recovered P2 billion worth of the illegal drugs in that operation.
On Wednesday, the three Chinese nationals, accompanied by four security escorts and a driver, were on their way to the hearing of their case at the municipal trial court in Trece Martires City when a white van blocked their vehicle around 10 a.m.
At least 10 men, armed with assault rifles and whose faces were covered with bonnets, disarmed the jail guards and fled with the Chinese nationals.
Hours after the incident, police recovered the suspects’ van (license plate WTT 544) abandoned in Barangay Aguado in Trece Martires City.
Senior Supt. Alexander Rafael, Cavite police chief, said he believed the suspects changed vehicles twice, after they recovered another vehicle, a maroon Ford Club Wagon (license plate UBR 900), suspiciously abandoned in Barangay Sahud Ulan in Tanza past 7 p.m.
Rafael said the jail guards will be investigated, too. “One or two of them (jail guards) may have been involved in this,” he said in a phone interview on Thursday.
According to Rafael, one of the jail guards rode his motorcycle on the way to the court instead of taking the jail’s service vehicle with the detainees as he was supposed to.
He said there were also inconsistencies in the guards’ statements. He said it was also unusual for the guards to be carrying short firearms when they were escorting “high risk detainees.”
The Chinese nationals had been convicted of an earlier drug case aside from the one that they are being tried for.
The Inquirer tried several times to get the reaction of jail warden Romeo Montehermoso Jr., but the person who took the call said he was not available. The provincial jail is under the provincial government.