Cop injured in Toboso drug bust

Police Brigadier General Jack Wanky, director of Police Regional Office (PRO) 6, pins the Medalya ng Sugatang Magiting (Philippine National Police Wounded Personnel Medal) on Police Staff Sergeant Ronie Melgar of Toboso Municipal Police Station, in the presence of Councilor Richard Jaojoco (left), at a private hospital in Bacolod City. Melgar was wounded in a buy-bust operation in Barangay Magticol, Toboso, Negros Occidental, on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Nocppo)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD CITY – An anti-illegal drug operative was commended for his bravery following an armed confrontation with an alleged drug suspect during a buy-bust operation in Barangay Magticol, Toboso, Negros Occidental, last Saturday.

Police Brigadier General Jack Wanky, director of Police Regional Office (PRO) 6, awarded the Medalya ng Sugatang Magiting (Philippine National Police Wounded Personnel Medal) to Police Staff Sergeant Ronie Melgar of Toboso Municipal Police Station while he was confined in a private hospital over the weekend.

Wanky was accompanied by Police Colonel Rainerio de Chavez, director of Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (Nocppo); Police Lieutenant Colonel Ariel Pico, deputy provincial director for administration of Nocppo; Police Major Jun Ray Batadlan, town police chief; and Toboso town Councilor Richard Jaojoco.

They recognized the heroism and dedication of 40-year-old Melgar, a member of the Station Drug Enforcement Team (SDET).

Batadlan said the drug bust led to the arrest of two persons and the seizure of 61.41 grams of suspected shabu worth P417,588.

Batadlan identified the subject of the operation as Joery Dela Cruz, 45, of Calatrava town, the alleged top drug personality in Toboso.

Dela Cruz’s two companions were Aries Azucena, 30, tagged as the top 5 drug personality in Toboso, and Albert Alico, 32, of Calatrava town.

Dela Cruz is a high-value individual, while Azucena is a street-level individual, and Alico is a newly identified individual, according to the police.

Batadlan said Alico allegedly shot Melgar before escaping the operation.

Melgar suffered a gunshot wound to his upper right arm and is now in stable condition, according to the police.

Batadlan said Dela Cruz was previously arrested for a drug offense, while Azucena had two prior cases related to illegal drugs. Both were released from jail after they availed of the plea bargaining agreement.

At that time, police confiscated from Dela Cruz a .45 caliber pistol with two magazines and 12 live rounds.

Batadlan added that the area of operation of the three drug suspects is in Toboso, prompting ongoing monitoring.

Additionally recovered during the Saturday operation were the P1,000 marked money, P22,650 cash, 17 live rounds of .22 caliber, two improvised tooters, two improvised scoopers, an improvised sealer, a pair of scissors, and two motorcycles.

Batadlan said drug charges are being prepared against the two arrested suspects, Dela Cruz and Azucena, as well as an additional case for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition against Dela Cruz.

Meanwhile, operatives of the Regional Special Enforcement Team (RSET) arrested a 38-year-old businessman from Victorias City and a 25-year-old man from Bacolod, seizing 60 grams of suspected shabu worth P408,000 in a drug bust in Barangay Tabao Proper, Valladolid town, last Saturday.

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