The leader of the most notorious Balane Robbery and Hold-up Group was arrested in Iloilo through a joint operation of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

On the strength of warrant of arrest for robbery in band, Dexter Balane was caught by the officers from the PNP Crime Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Region 6, Pavia Municipal Police Station (MPS), and the 15th Intelligence Service Unit of the Philippine Army in Brgy. Aganan, Pavia, Iloilo, on July 20, 2015.

Balane, an ex-Army Captain, became a target of DILG-PNP OPLAN Lambat-Sibat  for allegedly leading a robbery and hold-up group operating in Metro Manila and Mindanao in alliance with the Martilyo Gang.

A major component of the OPLAN is intelligence-driven targeted operations by the PNP, using a deliberate and sustained approach to account for the nation’s most wanted criminals.

The Balane Group and Martilyo Gang were known for using hammers, wrenches, and crowbars to smash glass display cases in taking jewelry and other valuable items, as seen in the 2013 robbery in SM Megamall and SM North EDSA.

Citing striking similarities in Modus Operandi, Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Mar Roxas directed the thorough investigation of the robberies, followed by the inclusion of the perpetrators in the target list of OPLAN Lambat-Sibat.

Balane  himself was after he was positively identified through closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera footage, with the help of several witnesses.

Authorities have arrested more than 400 most-wanted fugitives since the implementation Oplan Lambat-Sibat last year.