Maguindanao town councilor nabbed for drug pushing
COTABATO CITY – Anti-narcotics operatives arrested Thursday afternoon a town councilor in Maguindanao for alleged drug trafficking two weeks after lawmen arrested a barangay chairwoman for drug pushing.
Bryan Babang, director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PDEA-ARMM), said anti-narcotics agents, armed with arrest warrants, found Dennis Sandigan Utto in his hideout in Rajah Buayan town in Maguindanao, about 40 kilometers from Guindulungan town where he has been serving as a town councilor.
Babang said Utto’s relatives claimed that he relocated in 2016, after police failed to catch him during two separate anti-drug operations in November.
Utto has been operating a drug ring that distributed methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) in Maguindanao, the PDEA said.
Rajah Buayan community leaders and tipsters provided the information to PDEA-ARMM, which led to Utto’s arrest.
Utto is now detained at the PDEA-ARMM detention facility in Cotabato City facing charges for violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.
His arrest was preceded by the fall of Fatima Daud Baliwan, a barangay (village) chair in Kabuntalan, Maguindanao and a former member of the town’s council.
Baliwan, who has been known as the “Maguindanao drug queen” and who topped the PDEA-ARMM drug watch list, was arrested with her son and two others in Cotabato City.
Several sachets of shabu, firearm, credit cards and a luxury vehicle were seized from her. SFM/rga
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