Three caught, one escapes from Roxas City drug bust

Drug suspects Mark Hicalde (left) and live-in partners Francis Ian Balgos and Katherine Tuazon (both seated) were arrested in a buy-bust operation Monday morning in Barangay Loctugan, Roxas City. ( Photo courtesy of PDEA-Capiz)

By Felipe V Celino

ROXAS CITY, Capiz – Three persons were arrested while another escaped from a drug buy-bust operation conducted by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Capiz Monday morning at Barangay Loctugan, Roxas City.

The operatives identified the arrested suspects as Francis Ian Balgos; Katherine Tuazon; and Mark Hicalde alias Tugis.

A certain Jonathan Bilan eluded arrest during the operation.

The suspects are all of legal age and residents of Roxas City.

PDEA operatives recovered from the suspects 11 sachets of suspected shabu, a cellphone, and several drug paraphernalia.

According to PDEA Capiz provincial officer Ma. Melinda Panaguiton, the operation happened after a month of surveillance on Hicalde and Bilan.

Panaguiton said the suspects “confessed” that they got their supply from Roxas City and the house of Bilan served as a drug den.

According to live-in partners Tuazon and Balgos, they have no participation in the alleged illegal activities of Hicalde. They claimed that they were drinking soft drinks outside the house of Bilan when the operatives arrived.

Punong Barangay Lilian Cordenillo of Loctugan said she was dismayed by the incident. She said that despite her all-out campaign against illegal drugs, some individuals still sell illegal drugs in their village.

The suspects are in the custody of PDEA-Capiz while charges for violation of Republic 9165 or Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 were filed against them before the Provincial Prosecutor Office on Tuesday morning.