Updated 22:12 PM PHT Mon, October 17, 2016
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald Dela Rosa confirmed the arrest of an alleged drug lord early Monday.
Kerwin Espinosa, who was among local government and police officials linked by President Rodrigo Duterte to the multi-billion peso illegal drug trade in the country was arrested at 2:00 a.m. (Manila time) in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
Espinosa is now under the custody of authorities in Abu Dhabi, and they are processing his return to Manila to face charges of drug trafficking.
A three-man team led by PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group head Senior Superintendent Albert Ferro has been sent to coordinate Espinosa's return.
"Nasa custody na siya ngayon ng Abu Dhabi police and ready to be shipped by Colonel Ferro to Manila," Dela Rosa told reporters.
"I don't know kung matapos na yung documentary requirements today baka bukas pwede silang bumyahe. If not, depende sa first available flight right after the suspect is cleared to travel to the Philippines," Dela Rosa added.
[Translation: He is now under the custody of the Abu Dhabi police and he is ready to be shipped by Colonel Ferro to Manila. I don't know if they can finish the documentary requirements today, maybe tomorrow they can already travel back to the country. If not, it will depend on the first available flight right after the suspect is cleared to travel to the Philippines.]
Espinosa is the son of Rolando Espinosa, Sr., the mayor of the town of Albuera in the central Philippine island province of Leyte.
Police arrested the older Espinosa over charges of illegal possession of dangerous drugs and firearms on October 5. Both father and son were tagged by President Duterte in his list of alleged illegal drug coddlers and traffickers.
Police chief Dela Rosa said he received the information of Espinosa's whereabouts from overseas Filipino workers in Abu Dhabi.
Espinosa had arrived in the Middle Eastern capital en route from Malaysia, Dela Rosa said, adding, that while in Abu Dhabi, Espinosa sought the help of a travel agency to extend his stay.
The tip from overseas Filipino workers who got wind of Espinosa's presence, prompted the international police organization Interpol to send a "red notice" to their counterparts. A "red notice" indicates seeking "the location and arrest of wanted persons with a view to extradition or similar lawful action."
Meanwhile, in an interview with CNN Philippines' Network News, Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Constancio Vingno Jr. said authorities were trying to find out the people Espinosa had contact with during his stay in Abu Dhabi.
"He was able to rent an apartment, if you are not a resident here it is not possible to rent. Somebody might have rented for him," Vingno said.
He added that probers were also investigating if Espinosa was also involved in some other illegal transactions during his stay.