Mindanao mayor hunted for drugs

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ISULAN, Sultan Kudarat: Law enforcers are tracking down the whereabouts of a municipal mayor in Maguindanao, a suspected drug lord, who eluded the raid here on Saturday where P1.2 million worth of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) was seized.

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The raid was conducted with a search warrant in Barangay Kalawag 1 here, a known lair of drug peddlers, after a long-drawn intelligence surveillance.

Senior Supt. Raul Supiter, provincial police director, said the prime targets in the operation, a town mayor in adjacent Maguindanao province and his trusted aide, have eluded operatives.

Supiter did not name the suspects to avoid jeopardizing follow-up operations.

However, during the raid, joint police operatives arrested 15 other suspects, relatives of the suspected narco politician, and seized from them packs of shabu with an estimated market value of P1.2 million.

The police filed charges against the arrested suspects, including the owners of the house identified as Makee Tamondong and Armina Tamondong.

Citing reports, the police official said the mayor is a well-known “big-time” drug dealer and also allegedly operating a shabu laboratory in his town.

“Follow-up investigation is still ongoing,” Supiter added.

It was not immediately known whether the mayor is included in the “narco-mayors” listed by President Rodrigo Duterte as high-valued targets in the Administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.

Last week, a former mayor in Maguing town in Lanao del Sur was arrested in Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental, along with her Army official husband.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Northern Mindanao recently confirmed the identitty of the arrested person as Johaira Abinal alias Mayora Marimar, also known as the “Drug Queen of the South,” who is in Duterte’s list.

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