Jail officer who led a small drug gang killed in Laguna drug sting
MANILA, Philippines — A jail officer, alleged to be the leader of the Villegas Drug Group, was killed in a shootout with police operatives in Calamba, Laguna on Thursday morning, police said Friday.
In a report, police identified the suspect as Jail Officer 3 Joseph Rey Villegas, 49, an active personnel of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) facility in San Pablo City. Police said the suspect’s drug group operates in Calamba City and other villages in Tanauan City.
The Laguna police provincial police office, Calamba city police station, and other police operatives hatched the buy-bust operation against Villegas along Barangay Road of Barangay Bunggo at 10:10 a.m.
An undercover law enforcer bought shabu worth P1,000 from Villegas, who immediately fired his gun he pulled from his waist after sensing police presence in the area. Lawmen also opened fire, injuring Villegas.
Police then called an ambulance that rushed the suspect to a nearby hospital where Villegas later died.
Recovered in the crime scene were shabu contained in a heat-sealed plastic sachet, P1,000 marked money, Taurus pistol cal. 9mm with six cartridges, three fired cartridge cases of 5.56 rifle, brown sling bag with magazine and ammunition, plastic bag with shabu worth P130,000, 23 cartridges of cal. 45 gun and 10 cartridges of cal. 9mm firearm, and a black motorcycle.
Records from police showed that Villegas’ sourced his narcotics from high-value drug personalities detained in BJMP San Pablo City.
Police said the drug operation inside the jail facility was managed by his wife Joy Villegas, who was arrested for drug charges in 2018. Villegas’ wife was later ordered released by the Regional Trial Court Calamba City Branch due to “technicalities in a court proceeding,” police said.