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Suspected crime lord nabbed in drug bust

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Dionisio Santiago (left) and Justice Secretary Alberto Agra examine a tattoo on the forearm of alleged crime lord Marvin Fajardo during a press conference yesterday.

MANILA, Philippines - A man who is allegedly the leader of a crime syndicate involved in drug trafficking, contract killing, kidnapping, robbery and extortion operating in Metro Manila and nearby provinces was arrested during a drug bust Friday afternoon “after a long wait and a bit of luck,” Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) officials said yesterday.

Suspect Marvin Fajardo, 31, a native of Tanauan, Batangas, was presented to the media jointly by Justice Secretary Alberto Agra and PDEA chief Dionisio Santiago during inquest proceedings at the PDEA national headquarters in Quezon City yesterday.

Fajardo reportedly sold about five grams of shabu, with a street value of P22,000, to a PDEA agent in Malvar, Batangas at around 5:30 p.m.

After receiving the marked money, officials said Fajardo apparently sensed the presence of PDEA operatives. He fled, triggering a car chase that ended at the Evergreen Malvar subdivision.

PDEA agents seized from Fajardo a Hyundai Sta. Fe sport utility vehicle and about 10 grams more of shabu.

Two other suspects – Richard Camalate, alias Joel; and an alias Jun – eluded arrest.

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PDEA said Fajardo allegedly heads other groups involved in kidnapping, armed robbery and extortion.

PDEA Region 4A (Southern Tagalog) head Chief Inspector Christopher Abrahano told The STAR that Fajardo, who has a spider tattoo on his right forearm, has a standing arrest warrant for kidnapping in Biñan, Laguna. The tattoo, described by a kidnap victim to PDEA agents, led to Fajardo’s identification and arrest.

Agra, who came with State Prosecutor Claro Arellano, said they are “here even on a weekend to show our willingness to work with the PDEA in battling the drug menace.”

Santiago said Fajardo’s arrest has made a major dent in the operations of illegal drug groups in the country.

“Fajardo is the brains and directly controls the operations of the group,” said Santiago.

Well-connected?

Abrahano said that as early as 30 minutes after Fajardo’s arrest, many personalities in government and the private sector, police and military, called up, “asking about Fajardo’s status or what or how it happened.” He added that no politicians called.

“This guy must be somebody. He is well-connected. We are not definite about this but many have called and are calling. Many lawyers are ready to take his case. He will reportedly be hospitalized,” Santiago said, adding that the callers were “from different instrumentalities.”

Santiago said Fajardo “is feared and influential,” noting that they waited around seven years to arrest him.

Santiago said PDEA is coordinating with the Police Anti-Crime Emergency Response to determine Fajardo’s involvement in other cases.

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