Alleged drug group member arrested in Koronadal


A businessman who is an alleged member of a major drug group based in Soccsksargen was arrested on Sunday morning in Koronadal City in South Cotabato.

Operatives from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Region 12, Joint Task Force GenSan and the Police Regional Office 12’s Special Action Force arrested 54-year-old Ruel Espinosa alias Balong in a search operation at the suspect’s rice mill in Purok Kaunlaran, Barangay Sto. Nino.

Espinosa is an alleged member of the El Patron Drug Group operating in Koronadal and in nearby areas in the region.

PDEA Region 12 director Gil Cesario Castro said Espinosa was listed as a “high value target.”

Castro said the suspect has long been on their watch list after reports of his possible involvements in drug groups in other parts of the country.

“He uses his businesses as conduit of the illegal drug trade in the area,” Castro was quoted as saying in news reports.

Recovered during the raid were 100 grams of suspected metamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu with an estimated value of P500,000, a digital weighing scale, a rifle grenade, a para ordnance .45-caliber handgun and a hi-cap 45-caliber magazine with 12 rounds of live ammunition.