2 gun smuggling suspects nabbed in Bacolod

TWO suspects were arrested by authorities for the illegal shipment of smuggled gun parts with estimated worth of P4.5 million.

In a media briefing on Thursday, August 31, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa identified the suspects as Bryan Ta-ala and Wilford Palma, both from Bacolod City.

Dela Rosa noted that Ta-ala is now confined in a hospital in Bacolod City for hypertension.

Before the suspects’ arrest, 23 individuals, including the nine who surrendered before the Major Crimes Investigation Unit (MCIU) of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), reportedly transacted with Ta-ala and Palma.

They were identified as Ronald Santos, Ryan Douglas, Charlie Saavedra, Escalante Joe Alian, Edwin Zambas, Maribel Bautista, Larry Paet, Santiago Macariola Inoferio Jr. and Roderick Oliveros.

Dela Rosa said the nine have expressed willingness to cooperate with the probe being conducted by CIDG on the shipment, trading and selling of smuggled gun parts.

In the same briefing, dela Rosa presented to the media a total of 15 gun parts composed of seven upper receivers, a butt, a handgrip, two magazine assemblies and four bolt assemblies, which were surrendered and received by the CIDG.

On August 6, police arrested Ta-ala and Palma during an operation against loose firearms at Atlas, Villa Cristina Subdivision, Barangay Tangub, Bacolod City.

Seized from them was a package box containing items valued at P4.5 million.

The suspects are facing charges for violation of Republic Act (RA) 10591, or the “Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.”

Palma underwent inquest proceedings before the State Prosecutor’s Office at the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Faura, Manila last August 8.

The suspects allegedly use fictitious names and false documents when claiming the packages with the contraband of different firearms component parts which are bought in the United States, and shipped to the country through the use of legitimate international cargo forwarders.

The items are then sold to gun enthusiasts across the country, which are then shipped to customers using local courier services.

Records of the Firearms and Explosives Office-Records Section (FEO-RS) on the suspects show that 28 are registered firearms holders, 30 with no records found in the FEO-FIMS database, while the other 12 cannot be determined because of having the same names but with different middle names.

Police are still looking into the buyers of firearms, components, and/or accessories from a registered gun and ammo dealer stated in Palma’s affidavit. (PNA)

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