THE HUNT for one of Western Visayas’ top drug personalities ended evening of Jan. 31, 2017.
Members of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 6 (PDEA-6) arrested Ernie Jimena, 34, of Barangay Bakhaw, Mandurriao, Iloilo City in Parañaque City.
Jimena is PDEA-6’s No. 2 most wanted persons next to his uncle, Richard “Buang” Prevendido who rose to the top after the arrest and deaths of suspected drug lords in the region.
The Iloilo City and provincial governments each set aside P500,000 (total of P1 million) to informants who could lead authorities to Prevendido.
Jimena carries a P10,000 reward for his arrest which was also allocated by the city government.
In an interview with Aksyon Radyo-Iloilo, PDEA assistant regional director Levi Ortiz said they were able to trace Jimena through tips from their informants.
Ortiz said they continue to validate reports on Prevendido’s whereabouts.
PDEA agents served the arrest warrant on Jimena suspect for violation of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002) which was filed after an Oct. 21, 2016 raid.
In that operation, anti-drug agents augmented by members of the Regional Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Group 6 (RAIDSOTG) raided the lair of the Prevendido drug group at Barangkay Bakhaw in Mandurriao, Iloilo City.
While the operatives recovered more or less P1.3 million worth of suspected shabu, they failed to arrest Richard Prevendido or any of his nephews – Jimena and Boni Gregori.
Gregori is Jimena’s cousin and son of Bakhaw Barangay Captain Remia Prevendido Gregori, Richard’s sister.
Gregori was later arrested in a buy-bust operation at Barangay Camandagan, a hinterland village in Tobias Fornier, Antique.
Prior to the Oct. 21 raid, a separate operation was conducted by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG-6) against Jimena but he also eluded arrest.
Together with his cousin Boni Gregori, Jimena surrendered through Oplan Tokhang on July 12, 2016. Both of them turned over a caliber .45 pistol loaded with ammunitions.
The following day, Jimena again turned over another caliber .45 pistol.
On December 2016, Jimena’s live-in partner, Helen Grace Ordinal, surrendered the former’s well-kept armaments to CIDG-6.
Ordinal, a resident of Barangay Dungon-B, Jaro, Iloilo City, yielded an M1 carbine, a Bushmaster M4 carbine, a Colt AR 15 M16 rifle, a caliber .22 pistol (Phoenix arm HP 22), two sets of telescopes, assorted magazines of M16 rifle, and more than 200 rounds of ammunition.