Police operatives arrest kidnap for ransom gang leader

PANGASINAN – The leader of a notorious syndicate involved in kidnapping in the country was arrested by police operatives on Jan 24 during a beach party in Barangay Arnedo, Bolinao, here.

PCSupt. Leopoldo N. Bataoil, Director, Police Regional Office 1, identified the suspect as Jessie Pepino alias James Villacorta, leader and ransom negotiator of the Pepino Kidnap Gang.

The said gang has victimized 14 prominent people mostly Chinese businessmen, Bataoil said.

Pepino was arrested  by the joint elements of Police Anti-Crime Emergency Response, the Regional Intelligence and Investigation Division, the Regional Intelligence Group 1, and the Pangasinan Police Provincial Office headed by PSSupt. Allan Purisima while having a picnic with his family and friends at the Fatima Beach Resort in Bolinao, Pangasinan.

Judge Ester Veloso of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities in Lapu-Lapu City issued the warrant for the arrest of Pepino who carried a P300,000 reward for his apprehension.

Bataoil said Pepino’s group was responsible for the kidnapping of Anita Ching on October 18, 1998 in Quezon City; Edward Tan on June 28, 1997 in Parañaque City; Reagan King on October 21, 1998 in Mandaue City; Joshua Ferias on January 27, 2006 in Las Piñas City; Enrique Carlos on October 9, 2005 in Parañaque City; Anton Yang on February 24, 2006 in Quezon City; Santos Nang Si on April 12, 2006 in Quezon City; Dianne and Jo Ann Uy on March 21, 2006 in Mandaluyong City; Yuka Furuya on October 26, 2006 in Muntinlupa City; Kenneth Mark Jade Reyes on November 10, 2006 in Tagum City; John Paul Rivas on September 18, 2006 in Masbate City; Jazmine Perez on December 21, 2006 also in Tagum City; Wang Shi Bao on July 6, 2006 in Malabon City; and Mark Lester on August 29, 2006 in Caloocan City. (Tawid News Team)