UAE to investigate Kerwin Espinosa’s activities
It might take a week or two before suspected drug lord Kerwin Espinosa is brought back to the country because police in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are still looking into his activities during his stay in Abu Dhabi.
The Abu Dhabi Criminal Investigation Department is interested in finding out who were the persons who hid Espinosa in the UAE capital as well as his possible involvement in drug trafficking while in hiding, according to Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Constancio Vingno Jr.
As of yesterday, the team from the PNP-Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG), which is already in Abu Dhabi, has not yet talked to Espinosa and was still awaiting the transfer of custody, according to police officials here.
In a radio interview, Vingno said that before Espinosa’s arrest, he was staying in an apartment that somebody who had a residence visa apparently lent or rented for him. The apartment was about 30 minutes away from the Philippine embassy in Abu Dhabi.
Vingno pointed out that as a mere tourist, it would have been impossible for Espinosa to rent an apartment on his own.
The envoy said the investigation by UAE authorities on the suspected drug lord’s coddlers could take a week or even longer.
PNP public information office chief Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos in a press conference yesterday said Espinosa had been transferred from the Abu Dhabi police department to the Emirati interior ministry.
The ministry, upon learning that Espinosa was a “high-value target,” decided to conduct an investigation to determine whether Espinosa violated any UAE law, Carlos said.
Carlos said local authorities were tipped by an overseas Filipino worker.
Vingno said that based on Espinosa’s travel history, he left the Philippines through Palawan bound for Hong Kong before proceeding to Dubai, then to the capital Abu Dhabi. He arrived in the UAE on Aug. 1.
The police said that upon deportation from the UAE, Espinosa will be brought first to PNP headquarters in Camp Crame before being turned over to the Baybay City, Leyte, regional trial court, which issued the warrant of arrest against him for illegal possession of firearms.
The young Espinosa is the son of the mayor of Albuera, Leyte.
He added that the PNP hopes Espinosa will disclose information on who his cohorts and protectors in the illegal drug trade are, particularly in Eastern Visayas, where he allegedly used to operate. The personalities to be disclosed by Espinosa would still be investigated before being brought to the court while any recommendation for immunity will be studied by the PNP chief, Carlos added.
“What’s important is to get information for case buildup, for investigation. And if we get enough evidence or statement on the personalities whom we can charge in court, that’s the better result,” he added.