Knowing how the Baktin Group operates

IT was not early in October this year that the Baktin Carnapping Group was made known to the public. This was the second major anti-carnap operations of the Highway Patrol Group 13, 11 and the Davao City Police Office when a stolen vehicle was traced in Tandag City on October 16, 2012. And later, it turned out that it was a handiwork of the Baktin Group. And follow-up operations resulted to the recovery of more than 30 carnap vehicles in Tandag City and Davao City.

The Baktin Group was unmasked in the same month last year following the arrest of one of its key leaders, Osmond Ray Dalugdog, who also goes by the names “Cocoy,” “Cocoy Dee” and “Hashim Dee Balabaran” in Cagayan de Oro City.

It was there that officials were able to get reliable information on knowing how the group operates.

This group is involved in a web of conspiracy between actual thieves, their financiers and masterminds and their rogue contacts from the government particularly the Land Transportation Office and the HPG, this was according to former HPG director Leonardo Espina, now the National Capital Region Police Office director.

Espina said they had found out that a group of ‘financiers’ composed of wealthy businessmen from Central Mindanao and Visayas region  is actually behind the operations of the car theft ring.

“These financiers are the prime manipulative body behind the illegal scheme. In fact, they are considered as the core of the carnapping industry in the Philippines,” said Espina.

He said  the ‘financiers’ were keenly basing their next move on the  demand or purchase orders from several used car dealers and prospective buyers in Visayas and Mindanao.

In the case of the Baktin Group, he said  the ‘arranged orders’ were initially conveyed to Ryan Cain Yu alias Ryan Young/Baktin who has been charged with five counts of violation of Republic Act 6539 or the Anti-Carnapping Law, the Anti-Fencing Law and Illegal Transfer of LTO License Plate Number  along with two suspected members of the syndicate named Osmond Ray Dalugdog, alias Cocoy Dee,Hashim Dee Balabaran and Mark Lester Reyes before the Department of Justice in connection with the recovery of five of 22 stolen motor vehicles in separate operations in Visayas and Mindanao.

Espina said they have discovered that Yu,  known as a ‘main player’ in the industry categorically ran and managed the ‘re-birthing’ operations of stolen motor vehicles, whether they are smuggled or stolen motor vehicles given fake LTO registration papers.

He said the group’s operation basically depends on the number of specific motor vehicles being demanded by their buyers. Espina said that a lengthy investigation conducted by the Regional Highway Patrol Unit 10 headed by Senior Supt. Greg Pimentel, the HPG Intelligence Division under Supt. Romualdo Iglesia and the HPG Motor Vehicle Clearance Division led by Supts. Ferdinand Gil Tria and Roque Vega showed that Yu is the one ‘relaying’ the orders to Reyes who has been described as a leader of a notorious carnapping gang operating in Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog.

Espina said they have received reliable information that Reyes have bought stolen motor vehicles from several other car theft rings in the country including the notorious Salvatierra Group, the Bonifacio Group, the Roger Dominguez Group and the Ond Santiago Group.

These groups have been described as hard-core criminal gangs operating in the metropolis and its nearby provinces until most of their members were neutralized by the HPG in a series of anti-carnapping operations last year and this year.

Espina said that investigation showed that Reyes usually instruct car thieves to deliver freshly-stolen motor vehicles to him in order to hide the vehicles from pursuing authorities. After a while, the stolen vehicles will be handed to the group’s ‘transporters’ who are assigned to immediately ship the vehicles to the Baktin Group’s shops via Leyte or Manila Ro-Ro ferries going to Central Mindanao and Visayas region.

Once the vehicles have reached their destination, they are immediately taken to different clandestine motor shops where they are given a new look thru the so-called ‘re-birthing’ operations.

Espina said Dalugdog has been identified as Yu’s associate who is known for facilitating the fake documentation of the stolen motor vehicle thru his contacts from LTO offices in Mindanao including those in Tubo, Lanao del Norte, Ozamis, Sarangani, Polomolok, South Cotabato, Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao and Panitay.

Dalugdog met his deadly end when unidentified gunmen sprayed bullets at his driven Honda Civic in Barangya Dologon, Maramag, Bukidnon on November 26, 2011. Also slain was his girlfriend, Colomba Caragay, a graduating nursing student of Xavier University.

As to the investigation of the case, the ambush remains to be a mystery and no suspects were brought to justice.

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