MANILA, Philippines – Philippine authorities killed at least seven alleged drug traffickers and arrested dozens of others Friday in raids in a southern city, police said.
Police officers and Drug Enforcement Agency agents were met by gunfire when they raided 26 hideouts of suspected drug traffickers in Davao city’s coastal Tibungco district, said Chief Superintendent Benjamin Magalong, head of the national police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
He said seven suspects died in the ensuing firefight and 36 others, including a South Korean, were arrested by the authorities, who were backed by a unit of the Philippine navy’s special warfare group and the local police maritime force.
Authorities recovered assorted firearms, components for home-made bombs and an undetermined amount of crystal methamphetamine, Magalong said.
The raids followed a police surveillance operation prompted by reports that drugs and illegal firearms were proliferating in the area, he said.
In metropolitan Manila last month, authorities seized about $32.2 million worth of illegal drugs in operations in which four Filipinos and four Canadians with suspected links to a Mexican cartel were arrested separately without violence.
Authorities last year seized a record 4.6 billion pesos ($101.5 million) worth of crystal meth, seven times more than the combined amount over the previous four years, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
Another 5.3 billion pesos ($116.9 million) worth of other drugs and drug-making materials also were seized in 2013. More than 8,600 people, including 73 foreigners, were arrested on suspicion of drug possession and trafficking.