BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
A woman was killed and her live-in partner was injured in a shootout with operatives of the Regional Police Drug Enforcement Unit-6, following a buy-bust operation that yielded P2.8 million in “shabu” at Malaspina Street in Brgy. Villamonte, Bacolod City, at about 8 a.m. yesterday.
“It was just like in the movies” was how witnesses described the shootout that claimed the life of Hilda Trujillo of Purok Mahimaya-on, Brgy. Bata, Bacolod, who was dead on arrival at the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital, while businessman Xiever Louis Rosales, alias “Boss”, was wounded and is now being treated in the same hospital, P/Lt. Glen Soliman, a RPDEU-6 operative, said.
Soliman said it took them about a month before they were able to conduct the drug operation against the suspects, whom they considered as high value target individuals.
He said the police was supposed to arrest the couple after they handed four heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets of suspected shabu to the police poseur buyer, in exchange for P44,500.
But the couple, sensing that they were transacting with policemen, sped off on board a Fuego pick-up and shot the arresting officers, who fired at the vehicle and its tires, Soliman also said.
A witness told the DAILY STAR that they saw the vehicle swerving on the road before hitting a parked truck, while bystanders scampered and hid.
When the pickup vehicle was inspected, 54 more sachets of suspected shabu and a .45 caliber pistol were recovered while the car seats were blood-stained. Several shells of fired bullets were seen scattered in the vehicle and along the pavement, police record showed.
DRUG GROUP MEMBERS?
Rosales and Trujillo were arrested on July 15, 2017 in Brgy. Mansilingan, Bacolod, during a buy-bust operation where seven sachets of shabu, valued at P200,000, were seized. It was not immediately known why the two were able to be freed from detention.
Soliman said the two were allegedly members of the Divinagracia drug group that was earlier identified as one of the seven illegal drug groups reportedly operating in Bacolod City and other parts of Negros Occidental.
P/Col. Romeo Baleros, then the director of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, had said that Michael Divinagracia, the leader of the group, was believed to be hiding somewhere in the Calabarzon region, possibly in the province of Laguna.
Soliman said they are also trying to establish whether Rosales is the “alias Boss/Bro”, who was earlier named by Christian Tulot, the self-confessed killer of his four relatives in Brgy. Tangub on Easter Sunday, as his source of illegal drugs.
Tulot, 39, of Brgy. Malaabang in Concepcion town, Iloilo province, had said he was getting his drug supply from “alias Bro” and the reason why he fought with his cousin, John Michael, was that the latter failed to settle his debt with him over the illegal drug transactions.
Tulot had told the police that he was being pressured by “alias Bro” to settle the amount.
But Police Station 8 commander, P/Major Joery Puerto, had also said that “alias Bro” could just be the product of Tulot’s imagination considering that he has been using illegal drugs.
Joint operatives of Police Station 1 and the Bacolod Police Drug Enforcement Unit arrested two street level individuals at about 1:30 a.m. yesterday in Brgy. 13, Bacolod City, and seized P136,000 worth of suspected shabu from them.
Anthony Villacrusis and Gemma Mellogo of Purok Boulevard in the barangay were arrested after the former handed an elongated sachet of suspected shabu to a police poseur buyer, in exchange for P500, P/Lt. Liberty Indiape, BCPO spokesperson, said.
Twenty-five additional elongated sachets of suspected shabu were recovered from Villacrusis while two big sachets containing the same substance were seized from Mellogo during their arrests.*