Alleged drug lord's deportation may be delayed: Police

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday said it is uncertain as to when Rolan 'Kerwin' Espinosa, the alleged big-time drug lord in Eastern Visayas, will be brought back to the Philippines.

"Posible magkaroon ng delay sa kanyang deportation," said PNP spokesman Senior Superintendent Dionardo Carlos.

[Translation: It's possible that there could be a delay in his deportation.]

Espinosa was arrested early Monday by police in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

He is wanted in the Philippines for violating the country's dangerous drugs law.

Related: Alleged drug lord Kerwin Espinosa arrested in Abu Dhabi

Espinosa is now in the custody of the United Arab Emirates' Interior Ministry where he was transferred to from the Abu Dhabi police's Criminal Investigation Unit, said Carlos in a press briefing.

"They know that Kerwin Espinosa is a high value target," he added.

United Arab Emirates' authorities are investigating Espinosa for any accomplices or possible violation of the kingdom's laws, Carlos said.

The PNP has sent a three-man team to Abu Dhabi to coordinate with their counterparts for Espinosa's return to the Philippines.

While the PNP team hoped to see Espinosa within Tuesday, their movements are limited and any request to see Espinosa needs to be coursed through the Philippine Embassy in the Middle East kingdom.

"Ang gusto nga natin magawa through the embassy ay makakuha ng access kay Kerwin Espinosa and be able to look into the documents from Kerwin when he was arrested by the Abu Dhabi police. Para makita natin kung ano naging movement," Carlos said.

[Translation: What we want to do through the embassy is to get access to Kerwin Espinosa... So we can see what his movements were.]

Fugitive's flight from Manila to Abu Dhabi

Espinosa used a regular Philippine passport under the name "Rolan Eslabon Espinosa," and declared his profession as "sales representative, based on his travel visa obtained by the Abu Dhabi-based Khaleej Times.

It added Espinosa flew to Abu Dhabi from Hong Kong on July 31 aboard Etihad Airways.

The visa granted to him allowed him to stay in the United Arab Emirates only up to September 23, 2016.

The PNP team in Abu Dhabi confirmed that the copy of Espinosa's visa from the news report is legitimate.

Next moves

Once Espinosa is deported to the Philippines, he will be placed under the custody of the PNP Anti-illegal Drugs Group.

"Hopefully, makuha natin sa kanya yung mga possible information na makakatulong sa campaign natin against illegal drugs at who are part of his network, his operations in eastern visayas. Ma-confirm 'yung mga info na hawak ng PNP so we'd like to get as much info from him para magtuloy tuloy ginagawang investigation," said Carlos.

[Translation: We want to get from him possible information that can help in our campaign against illegal drugs... And confirm the information the PNP has so we'd like to get as much info from him so we can continue our ongoing investigation.]

Police said the investigators will recommend if Espinosa may serve as witness against those implicated in drug trade in the country including Senator Leila De Lima.

Related: Senator involved in Kerwin Espinosa's drug trade – police

Espinosa's younger brother, Rolan Kevin, claimed Kerwin gave drug money to De Lima as payoff.

But the former justice secretary-turned-senator denied this or any personal knowledge of the Espinosas.

After investigation, he will be turned over to the court in Baybay City in the central Philippine province of Leyte, which issued the warrant of arrest for him, Carlos said.

The father of Espinosa, Rolando, the town mayor of Albuera in Leyte, was arrested by police on October 5 for possessing illegal drugs and firearms. The elder Espinosa has confirmed the son's involvement in the illegal drug trade.

President Rodrigo Duterte in August had accused the Espinosas of allegedly heading the drug trade in the Visayas, the group of central Philippine islands.