Cordillera’s most wanted carjacker falls

POLICE anti-carnapping operatives busted what is believed to be the Baguio connection of the notorious Dominguez carnapping gang with the arrest of one of Cordillera’s most wanted carjackers.

Karl Michael LARANANG, 26, of Barangay Namonitan, Sto. Tomas, La Union was arrested by operatives of the Regional Highway Patrol Unit (RHPU)-Cordillera in Baguio City.

In a report to PNP Chief, Director General Raul M. Bacalzo, PNP Highway Patrol Group Director, Chief Supt. Leonardo A. Espina said Laranang was arrested outside the Justice Hall of Baguio City after reporting to his probation officer.

Espina  said the arrest culminated weeks of manhunt operations launched by RHPU-Cordillera against Laranang.

According to Espina, Laranang is the subject of the warrant of arrest issued by Judge Cleto Villacorta, III of RTC Branch 6 of Baguio City for violation of  RA 6539 or the Anti-Carnapping Act of 1972.

Espina added that barangay officials witnessed how arresting officers frisked and found dried marijuana leaves wrapped in foil in the suspect’s left pants pocket.

Upon return of the served Warrant of Arrest, the Court committed Laranang to the Baguio City Jail.

A background check revealed that Laranang figured in a brush with the law in 2009 when he was arrested for illegal possession of a handgun at a mall in Baguio City, a criminal offense for which he applied for probation.

Baguio City Police records disclosed that on June 29, 2010, Laranang and his group staged a robbery in the house of a religious lay minister along Pinsao Road and looted valuables worth P500,000 including the victim’s Mitsubishi Pajero SUV.

Days after the robbery and carjacking, Laranang was spotted in Sison and Pozzorubio, Pangasinan, looking for a buyer of the stolen SUV.

On June 26, 2010, RHPG-Cordillera operatives intercepted and  recovered the stolen SUV in La Union and subsequently filed a case for carjacking against Laranang.

According to HPG Spokesman, Police Superintendent Edwin Butacan,  the Laranang Group is listed in the HPG’s Order of Battle of Carnapping syndicates as affiliated with the Rolan Rofal Group operating in Baguio City, which is now the subject of ongoing interdiction operations by RHPU-Cordillera.

In a recent carnapping case involving the Rolan Rofal Group, Laranang reportedly provided Rolan Rofal with government car plates issued to his (Laranang’s) step mother, who is a staff in a regional office of a national government agency.

Butacan said a  link diagram prepared by HPG investigators showed the Rolan Rofal Group as closely linked with the Central-Luzon-based Dominguez Gang through common associates, gang members and business contacts.

The Rolan Rofal Group operating in Baguio City and Northern Luzon is employing the signature modus operandi of the Dominguez Gang of running off with cars offered for sale during test drive, Butacan explained. Verlin Ruiz

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