Buy-bust in Liloan town ends in shootout; drug suspect killed

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Saturday, December 28, 2013


AN ANTI-NARCOTICS operation turned bloody after a suspected drug pusher got killed while a policeman was wounded during a shootout in Barangay Jubay, Liloan, Cebu late Thursday night.

Elias Gulane, 41, died from gunshot wounds in his head and chest. He was allegedly a level-three drug pusher who could dispose of at least 50 grams of shabu per week.

Two large packs and a medium pack of suspected shabu worth P50,000 were recovered from Gulane’s possession. Three firearms—a .38 revolver, a .357 revolver and 9mm pistol—were also taken from him.

PO2 Gabriel Opoc of Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB), who acted as the poseur buyer, was hit in his left hand.

Supt. Rodolfo Albotra, head of PIB, said the buy-bust took place at 10 p.m. in Sitio San Antonio, where Gulane lives in the house owned by his live-in partner.

Wise

The suspect was at the door while Opoc waited outside. “He was wise enough not to let buyers get inside the house,” Albotra said.

When Gulane handed over the medium pack of shabu worth P1,000, Opoc signaled the raiding team by calling them through their mobile phone.

However, Gulane sensed he was dealing with authorities and closed the door immediately, prompting Opoc to declare an arrest.

While Opoc was pushing the door, Gulane poked his .38 revolver and opened fire.

Albotra said Opoc deflected the firearm so that when Gulane fired, the policeman’s left hand was hit. Opoc returned fire at Gulane, who was hit several times.

Gulane was rushed to Eversley Child Sanitarium in Barangay Jagobiao, Mandaue City. He didn’t make it to the hospital alive.

Opoc, on the other hand, was brought to the Perpetual Succour Hospital in Cebu City and underwent operation yesterday.

Albotra told Sun.Star Cebu that Gulane was a new drug personality in the area and operates mainly in Liloan.

Toughie

During the police’s surveillance, Gulane was always seen bringing firearms. “He would pose himself as a toughie to scare residents,” Albotra said.

With Gulane’s death, it would now be difficult for police to trace his source of illegal drugs.

Police invited yesterday Gulane’s live-in partner for questioning on her possible involvement in the illegal drug trade. She was later released from police custody.

Albotra said the woman knew of Gulane’s illegal activity and had been telling the latter to stop. This, she added, would only end up in violent fights.

The confiscated drugs would be submitted to the PNP Regional Crime Laboratory Office 7 for chemical analysis. The firearms would also be examined for cross-matching in case these were involved in other crimes.

‘We mean business’

PRO 7 Director Danilo Constantino visited Opoc yesterday afternoon in the hospital to award Opoc, who was given the Medalya ng Sugatang Magiting (PNP Wounded Personnel Medal) award.

Constantino also gave financial assistance Opoc and promised to would shoulder the medical expenses. Apart from it, he said Opoc may be given a special promotion.

As for the implication’s of Gulane’s death in the police’s fight against illegal drugs, Constantino gave a stern warning. “It only means one thing: We mean business.”

Opoc was elated at the recognition and said this encouraged him to do his job better.

“I am happy that my effort was recognized, no matter how small it was,” he said.

When interviewed by reporters, Opoc shared it was his second near-death experience.

Last year, he was shot in the leg while he was still assigned at the Liloan Police Station.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 28, 2013.

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