Top drug suspect in Zamboanga del Norte shot dead on his way to court

ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE, Philippines – An inmate tagged by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) as the top drug lord in Zamboanga del Norte was shot dead by a "sniper" just outside the Bulwagan ng Katarungan here at 9:30 am on Friday, August 19.

The police identified the victim as RG Guico, who, at the time of the shooting, was handcuffed with another inmate Jay Recososa and escorted by jail guards for a scheduled hearing at the Regional Trial Court Branch 10.

At the meeting of the Provincial Anti Drug Abuse Council (PADAC) here last August 9, the PDEA complained that Guico "continued to transact business" despite being in jail.

A PDEA agent also revealed that a couple of months ago they conducted a test by slipping a "drug paraphernalia" into the Dipolog City Jail.

"And it got through to our recipient inmate, showing that [jail] guards could either be that lax or there might be some collusion," the PDEA agent added.

Guico was brought to the Zamboanga del Norte Medical Center, but died after an hour.

A guard at the Bulwagan ng Katarungan, Jose de la Torre, told Rappler that he saw Guico and fellow inmate get off the vehicle of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and were walking toward the back entrance of the building when he heard a shot fired.

"The jail guards ducked for cover while Guico was limping, he was hit at the right side of his body. We had to pull them inside the building," De la Torre said. "The shot came from the parking lot adjacent to our building. It sounded like an M16."

The guard recalled hearing a single shot from a distance and then followed by 4 shots from the jail guards returning the fire.

Guico was arrested in a drug buy-bust operation in 2013. –