BIFF member allegedly pushing drugs arrested in Cotabato City hospital

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COTABATO CITY — A leader of the Islamic State (IS)–linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), who allegedly moonlights as a big-time drug peddler was arrested by police and anti-narcotic agents on Wednesday, September 4, while confined at Cotabato Regional and Medical Center.

Juvenal Azurin, director for the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PDEA-BARMM), identified the suspect as Samad Masgal, a sub-leader of BIFF operating in the borders of North Cotabato and Maguindanao.

Masgal, 43, also known as kumander Madrox, is a resident of Brgy. Nabalawag, Midsayap, North Cotabato Province and Bonggo Island, Parang, Maguindanao, is a member BIFF and a target-listed drug personality.

Masgal, was confined last August 31, 2019 because of an accident that led to the amputation of his left arm. He was allegedly hit by an M203 grenade launcher during an encounter in Midsayap, Cotabato. Because of the information received, the intelligence units of the PNP verified the said report. Operatives then served the multiple Warrants of Arrest.

The suspect has a string of warrants of arrest for violations of of Section 11 and 12 of Republic Act 9165, Illegal Possession of Explosive under Section 3, 1st Paragraph of PD 1866 as Amended by RA 8294 and RA 9156, Murder, five (5) counts of Attempted Murder, and Frustrated Murder which are released last December 29, 2017 by Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 28.

Masgal is allegedly involved in illegal drug trade in Midsayap, Cotabato Province and in the Province of Maguindanao.

Azurin said Masgal has been the subject of their operation for the past three years, until residents of Barangay Nabalawag, Midsayap town, informed the police that Masgal was confined at a hospital in Cotabato City.

Military intelligence officials said Masgal provided funds for the IS-inspired BIFF – the Abu Toraife faction in Central Mindanao – out of his illegal drug trading business.

Masgal and his men killed two soldiers and a police officer during that operation that also forced the military to launch air and ground assaults but Masgal and his men managed to escape and hid in a community on Bongo Island, Parang, Maguindanao under a false identity. –Edwin O. Fernandez

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