Batangas crime syndicate leader falls

MANILA A key leader of a private armed group engaged in gunforhire activities operating in Batangas province has been captured, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said Monday.

Geronimo Bantugon, described by policemen as the armourer of the Bantugon Group, was captured for illegal possession of highpowered firearms and explosives by operatives of the Police Regional Office 4 (Calabarzon).

Albayalde noted that the group gained notoriety for operating an illegal quarry, scrap metal trading and fuel pilferage in Bauan and Mabini towns under its former leader, Leonilo Ka Nilo Bantugon, who was gunned down in 2016 by a police team serving him an arrest warrant.

Leonilo's brother, Leonardo, has since assumed the group's leadership. Their cousin Geronimo, to whom Leonardo has entrusted the group's armaments, was reported to be slowly taking over the operations while Leonardo is in hiding in Mindoro, Albayalde explained.

The PNP chief noted the importance of the development.

"(It is) very significant dahil (because) all part of our offensives against suspected gunsforhire, not only gunsforhire but also (because they are) involved in illegal drug trade, dahil ito halos lahat tinatrabaho na nila kung saan sila kikita (because they are working on all possible rackets that can be a source of income)," Albayalde said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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