A municipal councilor, who doubles in selling methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu, was arrested by combined operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine Army (PA) during a buy-bust operation in Maguindanao on February 23, 2017.  

PDEA Director General Isidro S. Lapeña identified the suspect as Saiden Sandigan Utto, alias Basoka Uling/Suk, 41 years old, an incumbent municipal councilor and resident of Guindulungan, Maguindanao.

“Utto is ranked Number 2 in the list of drug personalities under the radar of PDEA Regional Office-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PDEA RO-ARMM), Lapeña said.

At around 11:30 in the morning, joint elements of PDEA RO-ARMM under Director Bryan Babang and the 40th Infantry Battalion, 6th Infantry Division arrested Utto following an entrapment operation in Barangay Mileb, Rajah Buayan, Maguindanao.

Confiscated from Utto were five sachets of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu, weighing more or less 21 grams worth P315,000, one STI Grandmaster caliber 45 pistol, one caliber 45 magazine, seven pieces of caliber 45 ammunition, one mobile phone and six identification cards.

“During the conduct of tactical interview, Utto admitted that he is an active member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF),” Lapeña added.

In the course of the operation, an information from the military intelligence revealed that a group of unidentified lawless elements were on their way to rescue Utto, which prompted the operating team to immediately leave the area to avoid possible hostile encounter with the group.

Cases for violation of Section 5 (Sale of Dangerous Drugs) and Section 11 (Possession of Dangerous Drugs), Article II of Republic Act 9165, also known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, will be filed in court against Utto.

An additional case for violation of RA 10591 (Illegal Possession of Firearms and Ammunition) will also be filed against him.

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