Gang member killed, cop hurt in Cavite drug bust

GENERAL TRIAS CITY, Cavite — An alleged criminal gang member was killed while a police officer was wounded in a firefight that ensued from an anti-drug operation in Barangay San Francisco here on Thursday.

Lt. Col. Marlo Solero, city chief of police, on Friday identified the fatality as Wilbert Ungco alias “Bunso”, a member of the Salamat Criminal gang. The two other drug suspects arrested were Francis Alvin John Villarual Minoro alias “Alvin,” 30; and his cohort Marvin Blanco Tayobana alias “Nonoy,” 21, both residents of Tropical Village, Pabahay 2000 in the said barangay.

According to initial police investigation, the two were arrested during a buy-bust where a police undercover agent acted as poseur buyer and transacted with the drug pushers a heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet of suspected shabu for PHP1,000.

Upon interrogation by the police, the two suspects divulged Reynaldo Salamat, the alleged leader of the gang, as their source of illegal drugs and revealed to investigators the latter’s address.

The city’s Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) team immediately conducted their follow-up operation at the said Pabahay 2000 site where Salamat conducts his illegal drug operation.

Solero said as the DEU team reached the gang leader’s location, but were met with several gunshots with a bullet hitting Cpl. Redentor Betita’s lower right knee.

This prompted the police operatives to return fire, which led to Ungco’s death.

Salamat, however, was able to escape prompting police to launch a manhunt to apprehend the drug dealer-gang leader.

Betita was rushed to the Gentri Doctors Hospital in Barangay Mangahan for emergency treatment and possible surgery.

Investigators recovered a .45 caliber Colt pistol with serial no.863150 (USA Property) loaded with a live ammo; a magazine loaded with a live ammo; six .45 caliber bullets; and 10 pieces of 9mm bullets from the encounter site.

They also retrieved several bills worth almost PHP2,000 and seven heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets of suspected shabu weighing around six grams valued at PHP40,000.

The aggregate weight of the recovered illegal drugs reached 16.5 grams, including four sachets of suspected shabu that were earlier confiscated from the two arrested drug pushers.

The confiscated illegal drugs with an estimated street value of PHP100,000 and other pieces of evidence are now under the custody of the Cavite Police Provincial Crime Laboratory for appropriate forensic examination.

The arrested drug suspects are now detained for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.  Dennis Abrina / PNA –