SUSPECTS’ VEHICLE. The bullet-riddled vehicle of two drug suspects-cum-smugglers following a shootout with policemen in Pigcawayan, North Cotabato on Wednesday (June 8, 2022). One of the suspects, identified as Bhan Ali, was killed in the shootout. (Photo courtesy of Pigcawayan MPS)

PIGCAWAYAN, North Cotabato – An anti-drug operation here turned bloody when one of two suspects died following a shootout with the law enforcers, police said Thursday.

Major Carl Jayson Baynosa, the town police chief, identified the fatality as Bhan Ali, 40, a native of Pagalungan, Maguindanao.

The other suspect, identified as Ali Tahir Musa, 53, also from Pagalungan, was injured in the incident Wednesday afternoon.

Acting on a tip, Baynosa said policemen manning a checkpoint flagged down a black Toyota Avanza (NDC-8211) driven by Musa with Ali sitting in front around 4 p.m. in Barangay Upper Baguer.

Instead of pulling over, however, the police official said one of the suspects opened fire on police officers, triggering a pursuit operation.

“The Avanza also hit a passenger jeepney that injured three persons on board,” Baynosa said.

Baynosa said they rushed both suspects to the hospital but Ali was declared dead upon arrival by doctors.

Police said they found a .45-caliber pistol, nine boxes of smuggled cigarettes worth PHP135,000, several sachets of suspected shabu, and cash amounting to PHP11,000 in the suspects’ vehicle.

Baynosa said responders also attended to the three occupants of the passenger jeepney who were hurt. (PNA)