Melvin Montebon
  • Sex: Male
Incident Details
  • Killed in police operation
  • Date of Incident: April 6, 2018
  • Location of Incident: Norala, South Cotabato

KORONADAL CITY — Three high-profile drug dealers were killed in separate anti-narcotics operations in Maguindanao and South Cotabato provinces on Thursday.
The first to fall was Maguid Sinduan, an ethnic Maguindanaon and a senior member of central Mindanao’s Amiril illegal drugs syndicate.

Agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao neutralized Sinduan for resisting arrest when they raided his hideout in a secluded barangay in Talitay town in Maguindanao.

Juvenal Azurin, director of PDEA-ARMM, said their agents, backed by personnel of the Maguindanao provincial police and the Army’s 90th Infantry Battalion, tried to arrest him peacefully but eventually gunned him down when he refused to yield and opened fire.

Azurin said the raiding team arrested Sinduan’s spouse, Farida, after the shootout.

PDEA-ARMM agents found in their house in Barangay Kiadap, Talitay no less than P1 million worth of methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) and assorted firearms in a subsequent search witnessed by barangay leaders.

“We ought to thank the local officials and the barangay folk who helped us monitor his illegal drugs business and even led us to his hideout,” Azurin told this news outfit via mobile phone Friday.

Sinduan’s hometown, Talitay, was touted as the “shabu capital” of Maguindanao before President Rodrigo Duterte assumed the presidency on June 30, 2016 following his election where he defeated contenders with an overwhelming electoral mandate.

The mayor of Talitay, Montasir Sabal, has been missing since November 2016 after PDEA agents, personnel of the Regional Police Office-ARMM and the 6th Infantry Division raided his residence in the municipality and found there a big volume of shabu and dozens of unlicensed firearms, 81 and 60 millimeter mortar tubes and crew-served .50 caliber machineguns.

Sinduan, who died from multiple gunshot wounds sustained in the gunfight with PDEA-ARMM agents, was an erstwhile elected barangay official in Talitay.

He was a “high-value target” of PDEA-ARMM, long wanted for large-scale distribution of shabu in Talitay and in nearby towns in the second district of Maguindanao.

The law enforcement operation that resulted in Sinduan’s death was preceded by two separate police raids in Norala town in South Cotabato where agents had shot dead one after another shabu distributors Melvin Montebon and Ryan Barcacel.

South Cotabato is a component-province of Administrative Region 12, whose administrative capital is Koronadal City.

Chief Inspector Aldrin Gonzalez, spokesman of the Police Regional Office-12, said Friday the encounters were provoked by the two slain suspects.

“They fired at the raiding teams approaching their lairs to convince them to peacefully turn themselves in,” Gonzalez said.

Two of the policemen involved in the Norala anti-narcotics mission were slightly injured in the brief exchanges of gunfire.

Gonzalez said the raiding teams recovered shabu and firearms in the hideouts of Montebon and Barcacel.
Last Tuesday, PRO-12 personnel shot dead two wanted drug dealers, one of them an employee of the Bureau of Customs, in a brief shootout in Barangay Buluan in General Santos City.

Chief Superintendent Marcelo Morales of PRO-12 said their agents were forced to engage with the suspects, Ruel Magaway and companion, Antonio Villaplana, Jr., when they pulled out guns while about to be show a warrant to search their hideout for drugs.

Morales has confirmed that Magaway was an employee of the BOC who was long engaged in clandestine drug dealing activities using his being a customs broker as cover.