Three high-value targets who are allegedly members of the Morales gang were arrested Monday in separate joint operations by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Provincial Police Office (PPO).
An agent of the drug enforcement said suspects Virgilio Morales, 37, believed to be the leader of the Morales gang, and Amy Pangilinan, 41, were apprehended at Sitio Makirawa, Barangay Tagabenit around 10 p.m. on November 25.
On the same night, Gabriel Vicente, 51, another member of the gang, was nabbed at Socrates Road in Barangay Mandaragat.
The warrants for their arrest were issued by Judge Ambrocio De Luna of Branch 51, Regional Trial Court.
The PDEA agent said that based on their surveillance activities, the drug gang is operating in Puerto Princesa City and in several municipalities.
“Based on surveillance operations, [this group] is operating in the city and other pieces of evidence proved that Morales is the leader of the group. Si Pangilinan naman ay siya ang nagco-communicate sa mga customers,” he said.
He said there are other members of the Morales group that are under close watch, but he declined to name them.
The agent said it was challenging for them to locate the illegal drug suspects since their hideout is in a rural area. Tagabenit is an outlying barangay in the city.
“Yes [may mga kasama sila], but as of the moment ay hindi natin pwedeng ibigay ang mga pangalan nila. Hindi naman tayo nagmamadali [na mahuli sila,] but hindi tayo titigil hangga’t hindi sila nahuhuli,” agent said.
“Kahit nasa liblib sila ay nakakapag-operate sila, ang gagawin nila ay pupunta sila sa bayan o sa mga poblacion para ibigay ang droga sa mga client nila tapos babalik ulit sila sa hideout nila. Actually, ‘yong lugar [Makirawa] ay parang wala ka na sa siyudad. Itong grupo na ito ay masyadong maingat kaya medyo natagalan tayo makuha sila,” the PDEA agent said.