2 gunrunners allegedly supplying firearms to rebel groups, politicians nabbed
Updated (5:35 p.m.)
MANILA, Philippines — Two big-time gunrunners allegedly involved in supplying high-powered firearms and ammunition to ISIS-inspired Maute Group, the Abu Sayyaf group, and rouge politicians were arrested in an entrapment operation in Valenzuela City on Sunday.
Police identified the suspects as Edgardo Medel, 46, and Rosemarie Medel, 34, a couple allegedly involved in selling unlicensed firearms.
Police said the suspects were arrested after accepting P1.2 million marked money from two undercover agents who posed as buyers of firearms and ammunitions.
Recovered from the suspects were two assault rifles, a handgun, and 12,893 rounds of live ammunition for M-60 light machinegun and M-16 assault rifle. The items were concealed in boxes with markings of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
According to a report from the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) on Monday, the operation stemmed from a report of an informant that the suspects are involved in gunrunning activities.
Initial investigation also revealed that the suspects have a connection with a retired soldier who allegedly helps in the supply of unregistered firearms, according to Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde.
He said the serial number in the boxes that contained the ammunition could also help trace which military unit has originally received the supply of weapons.
“With the lot number, we will be able to identify now kung kaninong unit naissue iyan. That is very easy. With this of course we will investigate jointly with the AFP kung papaano lumabas sa kanila iyan at kung sino ang involved diyan,” Albayalde said.
(With the lot number, we will be able to identify now which unit it was issued. That is very easy. With this of course we will investigate jointly with the AFP how it was released and who is involved.)
He added that the police will coordinate with the AFP in investigating on the case.
According to Albayalde, the suspects could also be providing firearms to other private armed groups and have figured in transactions with buyers from Mindanao.
He also said the police are still verifying if the suspects have indeed transacted with politicians. He said police operations will be conducted against these politicians once the reports are verified. /ee
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