SHOOTOUT AFTERMATH. Government anti-narcotics operatives account for the estimated PHP425,593 dried marijuana leaves following a shootout with a suspected illegal drug trader in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi, on Thursday (June 8, 2023). The armed suspect, identified only as Khan, was killed in the gunfight. (Photo courtesy of JTF Tawi-Tawi)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – An alleged illegal drug trader was killed in a shootout with authorities during an anti-drug operation in Tawi-Tawi, a top military official said Friday.

Brig. Gen. Romeo Racadio, Joint Task Force (JTF) Tawi-Tawi commander, said the suspect, identified only as Khan, was killed noontime Thursday in Barangay Panyugan, Bongao, Tawi-Tawi.

The shootout broke out after the suspect pulled out a handgun and opened fire upon sensing that he was transacting illegal drugs to an undercover law enforcer, Racadio said.

He said the poseur-buyer was unhurt as the suspect missed his target.

“The exchange of gunfire resulted in the death of the (suspect),” he added.

Recovered from the slain suspect was a loaded .38-caliber pistol and 13 kilos of packed dried marijuana leaves with an estimated street market value of PHP425,593.

He said the successful anti-drug operation was a collaborative effort of the 2nd Marine Brigade, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the Bongao municipal police station, and intelligence units.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Roy Galido, commander of Western Mindanao Command, said they would continue to assist law enforcement agencies in curbing illegal drug operations in their area of operation.

“The successful operation is another accomplishment attributable to the good coordination among our troops, the police, and the PDEA,” he said. (PNA)