COTABATO CITY — The police busted on Monday a gang that allegedly peddled illegal drugs in the island province of Sulu and gave part of its earnings to the Abu Sayyaf terror group.

Bangsamoro Police Regional Director Allan C. Nobleza said Wednesday the nine members of the group were caught in an entrapment operation in the provincial capital Jolo.

Mr. Nobleza said the sting operation was planned with the help of members of the Sulu Provincial Peace and Order Council and Muslim religious leaders in the province.

The suspects, who had been charged with violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, were identified by the police as Warlito Edjung Dela Cruz, Jai Ahadain Majung, Shakir-Nasif Pawah Hayudini, Aldrin Parahis Alih, Abdul-Ajim Isnirul Sangkula, Abdulnajir Pala Hajan, Rashid Hajihil Aggih, Nadzmier Dampal Indanan and Ronie Aladja Sabturani.

They were long under surveillance. Their illegal activities were reported to our units in Sulu by vigilant local officials and members of the local Islamic community,Mr. Nobleza said.

Units of the Bangsamoro police in Sulu and agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in the region have arrested 27 large-scale drug dealers in a series of entrapment operations in the province in the past 12 months, with the help of local government units. John M. Unson