Fleeing drug lord busted in the UAE
Filipino criminal arrested in Abu Dhabi following a tip-off from expats
A drug lord who was put on a ‘shoot-tokill’ list in the Philippines has been arrested as he hid out in Abu Dhabi, the ambassador to the UAE has said.
Kerwin Espinosa Jr, 36, was caught on Sunday night by Abu Dhabi Police after expats tipped off the Philippines National Police (PNP) that he had been spotted in the capital.
He is believed to have arrived from Hong Kong on September 23, Philippines Ambassador Constancio Vingno Jr told 7DAYS.
It is not clear how Espinosa (pictured) managed to enter the country, but Philippines media reported that he had undergone facial plastic surgery before leaving the country on June 1.
Espinosa is among the key drug suppliers targeted by President Rodrigo Duterte. The hard-line politician issued a ‘shoot-to-kill’ order against Espinosa after he ignored calls to surrender to authorities in Visayas.
He is the son of Albuera mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr, who was arrested this month on charges of illegal possession of dangerous drugs and firearms.
Vingno said: “Espinosa Jr is wanted by the Philippines government on charges of dealing drugs.”
The ambassador said officers from PNP helped UAE authorities track down Espinosa then the arrest was carried out by Abu Dhabi Police. Vingno said is it likely that Espinosa had accomplices in Abu Dhabi. He said: “UAE authorities are now investigating how the drug dealer managed to get here and the people who sponsored his visa and helped him get an apartment in Abu Dhabi.” Earlier yesterday, PNP Chief Ronald Dela Rosa told a news conference in Manila that Interpol had issued a ‘red notice’, meaning police in all member states were urged to arrest Espinosa at the earliest opportunity. He was quoted by CNN Philippines as saying that they received a tip-off from Filipino overseas workers. Vingno said it is hoped Espinosa will be extradited to Manila in the coming days. He said Espinosa has not yet been charged with any offence in the UAE, but if he is the process would be much more complex. He said: “The Philippines government has made a request to UAE authorities to extradite the drug dealer so he faces his charges back home. “I believe this will take only a short time since the man has not been charged with any offence by UAE authorities.”