2 drug suspects die in Novaliches shootout, trike driver gunned down on Commonwealth

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MANILA, Philippines — It was a bloody early Friday morning in Quezon City, with two drug suspects targeted in a buy-bust operation killed when they shot it out with police officers in Novaliches, and a tricycle driver gunned down in Barangay Commonwealth.

The drug enforcement unit of the Quezon City Police District said one of the two slain suspects, Gary Sampaga, had just been released from detention following an earlier arrest, also for illegal drugs. Authorities described him as a member of a syndicate that is a major drug distributor in Metro Manila and outlying provinces.

Sampaga and his still unidentified cohort allegedly opened fire when they noticed that the deal they were making along Celina Drive in Barangay Bagbag was a police sting.

Police recovered some P250,000 worth of crystal meth or shabu from the slain suspects.

Meanwhile, Barangay Commonwealth officials identified the slain tricycle driver as Nonoy Gacutn, 38.

Witnesses said the victim was resting in his vehicle when two men drove up on a motorcycle, approached him and opened fire.

Eight .45 caliber shells were recovered at the scene of the crime.

Residents of the community said the victim had previously been jailed, reportedly for illegal drugs.