Iloilo’s No. 7 drug target arrested in Pototan

BY RUBY P. SILUBRICO

Thursday, January 12, 2017

ILOILO – A drug pushing suspect working for both the Odicta and Prevendido groups has been captured.

The 31-year-old Sarth Vincent Mendoza was busted in Barangay Guinacas, Pototan town and was detained at the municipal police station on Tuesday night.

He was ranked No. 7 in the Iloilo Police Provincial Office’s list of suspected drug personalities, said Senior Inspector Bonifacio Alabe, Pototan police chief.

An undercover police officer bought a sachet of shabu from Mendoza and recovered three more plus five packs of dried marijuana leaves from the suspect.

Mendoza was also associated with the Bolivar group, a subgroup of the Prevendido drug group operating in the 3rd District, said Alabe.

Panay News sources said after suspected drug lord Melvin Odicta Sr. was killed and the operation of rival drug lord Richard Prevendido slowed down, the Bolivar group stepped up its operation.

Mendoza was recruited to work for the Bolivar group, the sources added.

Mendoza and the suspected leader of the Bolivar group, Ernesto Bolivar, were neighbors in Barangay Guinacas, Pototan.

On Nov. 9, 2016 the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) raided Bolivar’s house but the suspect managed to escape together with Mendoza, said Alabe.

“Mendoza voluntarily surrendered to the Pototan police last year after the launching of the Philippine National Police’s Oplan Double barrel. We have since been monitoring his movements,” said Alabe.

In last year’s buy-bust operation targeting Bolivar, the suspect fled after selling to a police poseur buyer shabu for P15,000.
He ran away after realizing he was being entrapped, according to PDEA assistant regional director Levi Ortiz.

“’Yung lugar kasi niya was a compound. Bago ka makapasok sa bahay, may gate na dadaanan. During the transaction, ‘yung ibang tropa natin hindi pa kasama. Na-sense niya na may iba pang kasama. At saka ‘yung paligid eh may relatives siya. Siguro naka-timbre kaya tumakbo agad,” said Ortiz.

Bolivar brought with him the P15,000 that the poseur buyer gave.

“Siya ang may malaking market outside Iloilo City sa drug trade,” Ortiz added.

PDEA filed a complaint at the Iloilo Provincial Prosecutor’s Office against Bolivar for violation of Section 5 (selling) of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002./PN