Western Visayas 'top drug lord,' son killed in police operation

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Story updated to include statements from Western Visayas Police Regional Office director Cesar Binag.

Iloilo City (CNN Philippines, September 2) — A top drug lord in Western Visayas was killed in a police operation Friday night.

Police said Richard "Buang" Prevendido, along with his son Jason, died after engaging in a firefight with policemen in their home at Land Heights Subdivision in Brgy. Balabago, Jaro, Iloilo City, at around 8 p.m. yesterday.

Authorities were serving an arrest warrant against Prevendido for possession of dangerous drugs, when the two opened fire, police said.

Senior Superintendent Marlon Tayaba, director of the Iloilo Police Provincial Office, said the arresting team was composed of the region's intelligence officers and regional and Iloilo City police.

Police recovered sachets of metamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu and firearms.

Supt. Cesar Binag, director of the police regional office in Western Visayas, told CNN Philippines they also got four laptops and a desktop computer from Prevendido's home.

He said intelligence officials are now looking for leads on possible drug deals and contacts.

Authorities said they were finally able to track the location of Prevendido, whom they said was the top drug lord in Western Visayas, through his and his family's properties.

Prevendido, identified by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency as head of the Prevendido Drug Group, has been eluding arrest since January this year and has a P1.1-million bounty on his head.

Other members of Prevendido's family are also considered "high value targets" for their drug links.

Police said Prevendido's group is one of two major drug groups operating in the region, the other one being the Odicta Drug Group, who was led by Melvin Odicta Sr.

Odicta and his wife Merriam were gunned down by armed men in Aklan province in August last year. Authorities formed a special task force to look into their killing.

Also read: Alleged Iloilo drug lord Melvin Odicta, wife shot dead

Binag said they expect a 20-percent drop in local drug supply following Prevendido's death and that authorities will be able to focus on addressing other crimes in the region like robbery and theft.

Malacañang on Saturday said Prevendido's death "shows the enormous risk our police officers face each time warrants are implemented against high-value targets."

The police are investigating the incident, Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

 

Prevendido's death comes after President Rodrigo Duterte said he is assigning bemedaled Ozamiz City police chief Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido to Iloilo City.

Supt. Cesar Binag, director of the police regional office in Western Visayas, on Saturday said the appointment of Espenido as officer-in-charge of the Iloilo City Police has been canceled.

Duterte called Iloilo the "most shabulized" province in the country, with Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog also named on his list of narco-polticians.

Espenido was the chief of police assigned to Albuera, Leyte and Ozamiz City where the two mayors, Rolando Espinosa, Sr. of Albuera and Reynaldo Parojinog were killed in a separate police operations.

CNN Philippines' Eimor Santos and stringer Elyrose Naorbe contributed to this report.