Ex-Army soldier shot dead by cops in Catarman drug buy-bust
CATARMAN, Northern Samar – Police operatives on Monday shot dead a former Army soldier tagged as the top drug personality in the province during a buy-bust operation inside a hotel room in this capital town.
Ariel Pitong Unay suffered multiple gunshot wounds in the head and body during what the police claimed as a shootout about4:30 a.m. inside the Johnjohn Hotel in Barangay Macagtas, Catarman.
Supt. Alberto Garcia, Catarman police chief, said Unay topped their list of “drug personalities” or those suspected of being top drug traffickers in Northern Samar.
He allegedly distributed illegal drugs in Catarman and other towns in the province.
“He is the number 1 priority target of Lambat Sibat 2, on drug personalities. He was the supplier of drugs sold by pushers (in Northern Samar),” said Chief Inspector Gary Tungala, chief of the Northern Samar Provincial Intelligence Bureau (NSPIB).
A buy-bust operation was conducted by joint operatives of the Catarman police and the NSPIB against Unay early Monday.
The drug deal was supposed to take place inside room 202 of Johnjohn Hotel but Garcia claimed that Unay fired at them upon sensing that the prospective buyers were policemen.
“Upon knocking on the door, he immediately fired at us. So we fought back,” he said.
The Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) recovered from the crime scene several sachets of suspected shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride), P8,000 cash and other illegal drugs paraphernalia. Also recovered from the suspect’s body were two handguns – a .45 pistol and a .22 Magnum Black Widow.
Unay was the first suspected drug trader killed in the province by the police, who had launched their own Operation Tokhang, a campaign that aimed to persuade drug users and pushers to surrender and change their ways.
The Northern Samar police provincial office has recorded nearly 1,000 drug users and pushers who have surrendered since the campaign started on July 1. SFM/rga
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