Slain cop's gun found on drug suspect

A PISTOL recovered Monday, February 19, from slain high-value drug suspect Jovelio Franza had been issued to a police officer who was killed in an ambush in Minglanilla town, Cebu three years ago.

Franza was killed in a gunfight with police officers in Minglanilla Monday, following a failed drug bust. Police Officer 2 Evie Espina of Minglanilla Police was also killed in the operation.

Chief Inspector Vernino Noserale, Minglanilla police chief, reported that the 9mm Beretta pistol recovered from Franza was found to be the same firearm issued to the late Senior Police Officer 4 Razul dela Pena Segismar.

The gun had the marks "PNP (Philippine National Police) PROPERTY" and "SN (serial number) M24992Z."

Segismar, a police intelligence operative responsible for the arrest of several drug personalities, was ambushed on his way home on February 14, 2015 in Poblacion Ward 2, Minglanilla, Cebu. His assailant took his service firearm after he fell.

Minglanilla police, including Espina, conducted a drug bust in Sitio Bacay, Barangay Tulay, Minglanilla, Cebu around 5:30 p.m. on Monday against Franza.

The suspect and his two cohorts fled when they detected they were dealing with the police. A gunfight ensued as the police chased the suspects.

Espina sustained a gunshot to the head. He was rushed to the hospital but expired at about 7:00 p.m. Monday.

Franza, on the other hand, was cornered by the police and fatally shot. His two cohorts eluded arrest.

Aside from Segismar's service firearm, other items recovered from Franza were suspected illegal drugs packed in big and small plastic sachets.

Authorities also recovered one hand grenade from the suspects' motorcycle. Also found at the scene was a gray sling bag allegedly owned by another suspect, identified as Evangeline Briones, live-in partner of Franza. The bag contained assorted identification cards, one cal .38 revolver, and a llama with two magazines loaded with seven live ammunition each.

Aside from his illegal drug involvement, Franza was also allegedly involved in a gun-for-hire operation responsible for a series of unsolved killings in Minglanilla, the police said. (SunStar Philippines)
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