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Cops say Western Visayas drug supply down 70%

ILOILO CITY — The amount of drugs circulating in Western Visayas declined by up to 70 percent as a result of the killings of two of the region’s biggest drug lords and the arrest of several others involved in the drug trade, according to police.

Chief Supt. Cesar Hawthorne Binag, Western Visayas police director, said drug supply in the region declined significantly after the killings of leaders of two of the biggest drug groups in the region.

A lone gunman shot Melvin Odicta and his wife, Merriam, on Aug. 29, 2016, shortly after they disembarked from a passenger ship at the Caticlan port in Malay town, Aklan province. The killings have remained unsolved.

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Odicta was alleged head of a drug syndicate bearing his name and which operated in his residential compound that straddled the villages of Tanza Esperanza and Malipayon in Iloilo City.

Father, son dead

On Sept. 1, police gunned down alleged drug lord Richard Prevendido when he supposedly opened fire at a team of policemen who were trying to serve a warrant for his arrest. Prevendido’s son, Jason, was also killed during the raid on the two-story house in Balabago village in Jaro District, Iloilo City.

Prevendido, a resident of Barangay Bakhaw in Mandurriao District in Iloilo City, allegedly took over the drug operations of Odicta.

Police also took into custody village councilor Jesus “Jingjing” Espinosa, allegedly a top lieutenant of Odicta, after he surrendered for a murder case.

Several other suspected members of the two groups had been either arrested or killed in the war on drugs.

Binag said at least 2.27 kilograms of “shabu” (crystal meth) with a street value of P11.3 million had been confiscated by police from July last year to Sept. 12 this year.

Police also arrested 2,106 suspected pushers including 19 elected officials, six law enforcers and 11 government employees.

Binag said the decline in drug supply was a main factor in the decline in the volume of crime in the region.

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Crime volume from July last year to June this year dropped from 22,475 to 20,369 or 9.37 percent.

Even as operations continued against drug suppliers, the PNP in Western Visayas also heightened a campaign against drug use.

Binag said police had asked for the support of Church groups, civic organizations, school administrators, local chief executives and village officials in launching awareness campaigns in offices, schools and villages.

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TAGS: drug killings, extrajudicial killings, Hawthorne Binag, Jason Prevendido, Jesus Espinosa, Jingjing Espinosa, Melvin Odicta, Merriam Odicta, Richard Prevendido, war on drugs, Western Visayas
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