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FROM CRIMINAL GANG AFTER GUNFIGHT: Arms, ammunition recovered

By Celso Amo LEGAZPI CITY --- Various firearms and ammunition were recovered by the composite team from Camarines Sur provincial police office and Bato police from a notorious criminal gang after their encounter Sunday morning in Bato, Camarines Sur. An M4 Colt rifle, a Glock 9mm pistol, two cal. 45 pistols, as well as loaded magazines for M-16, caliber 9mm and caliber 45, including cellular phones were recovered after the 22-minute firefight with about ten members of the Concepcion criminal gang in Barangay Del Rosario of Bato town at about 6:30 a.m. of August 12, according to Senior Inspector Malou Calubaquib, Bicol PNP spokesperson. None was reported injured on the government side. “They were withdrawing to Barangay Del Rosario which is adjacent to Barangay Molosbolos in Libon, Albay where the leader of the criminal gang resides,” SPO1 Marnel Empis, spokesperson of Bato police,said. Empia said the latest firefight was a result of Oplan Sagittarius launched by the Philippine National Police in Bicol against the criminal gang involved in gun-for-hire and extortion activities in Bicol. Earlier on Friday, Aug 10, police operatives from Libon. Albay were fired upon by abut 7 armed men while serving a search warrant for two suspected members of the criminal gang at their respective houses in Barangay Along-ong. Recovered from the houses of Erwin Talastas was a cal. 45, a grenade, an Army bandolier containing loaded magazines and at the house of Richard Rabe was a cal. 45 pistol, a grenade, and loaded magazines for cal. 45 pistol. Present during the serving of the search warrant were the suspects’ spouses and barangay council members who accompanied the police. “We also found a notebook on the house of Rabe with a list of Department of Education buildings being constructed in Libon, Albay and at Pantao High School with a construction cost of P30M where they were marked with X sign,” said PO1 Juny Cardano, chief of Libon police. “We are still investigating if the gang was able to extort from the contractor of the project,” said Cardano. Cardano also said a member of the criminal gang was killed during a firefight with New People’s Army rebels before the May election. Barangay Along-ong is adjacent to Barangay Molosbolos were Gilbert Concepcion the leader of the criminal gang resides. Police investigators tagged the Conception criminal gang as responsible for shooting dead former Makati City engineer Nelson Morales who was planning to run as Malinao mayor under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). He was shot dead in 2013 outside the St. Nicolas Parish in Barangay Estancia in Malinao, Albay. Police intelligence said the criminal gang now operates in the five provinces in Bicol. Former PNP Regional Director Antonio Gardiola, Jr. has requested the 9th Division to transfer the detachment in Libon to the Philippine National Police early this year so that the PNP Mobile Group can conduct operations against the criminal gang.

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