Alleged Filipino drug lord on 'shoot on sight' list arrested in Abu Dhabi

Story highlights

  • Kerwin Espinosa, 35, was arrested in Abu Dhabi
  • He'd been on the run after his father was arrested

(CNN)An alleged drug lord on the run from the Philippines has been arrested in Abu Dhabi.

Kerwin Espinosa, 35, is accused by President Rodrigo Duterte of being one of the biggest illegal drug operators in the Eastern Visayas region.
    Duterte told police to "shoot on sight" after Espinosa refused to surrender in August following the arrest of his father, Rolando Espinosa, mayor of Albuera, on the island province of Leyte.
    The younger Espinosa was arrested late Sunday in Abu Dhabi, Philippine national police chief Ronald Dela Rosa told CNN Philippines.
    Dela Rosa said it was expected Espinosa would be transported back to the Philippines this week.
    Kerwin Espinosa was arrested in Abu Dhabi Sunday.

    Tipped off

    Police were made aware of his location by overseas Filipino workers in Abu Dhabi, after which Interpol issued a "red notice" seeking "the location and arrest of wanted persons with a view to extradition or similar lawful action."
    The Philippines' ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Constancio Vingno Jr. said authorities were looking into who Espinosa had contact with in Abu Dhabi.
    "He was able to rent an apartment, if you are not a resident here it is not possible to rent. Somebody might have rented for him," Vingno told CNN Philippines.

    Drug war

    Duterte has overseen a huge war on drugs since his landslide election earlier this year.
    Last week, a Senate inquiry into extrajudicial killings allegedly linked to the crackdown was scrapped. That followed the ouster of anti-Duterte Senator Leila De Lima as head of the committee overseeing the investigation.
    This month, Duterte likened himself to Adolf Hitler, saying that he wanted to kill millions of drug addicts just as Hitler killed Jews during the Holocaust.