Police authorities seized its biggest haul of illegal drugs in the province so far this year, with a joint buy-
bust operation last Monday afternoon (Nov. 22, 2021) yielding P408,000 worth of shabu.
According to various sources, elements of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)
Catanduanes, the Virac police station, the Catanduanes Police Intelligence Unit (PIU) and the Regional
Police Drug Enforcement Unit (RPDEU), led by PDEA Agent Marco Pontejos used a female police officer
to set up the transaction with the targets: Ardee Sarmiento Arcilla, 34, allegedly a contractual employee of
the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and his live-in partner, Coleen Mae “Korenai” de
la Cruz Sarmiento, 31, a “turon” vendor from barangay Concepcion.
The sale was to go down at the vicinity of the RSL bus terminal, with the couple going inside to get a
package at the cargo section. The poseur-buyer followed them inside and, once it was confirmed that the
transaction had been consummated, the suspects were arrested just as they went out of the gate.
The suspects dropped the package to the ground as the police swarmed in around them and recovered
the sachet of shabu sold to the undercover police officer and the buy-bust money consisting of one
genuine P500 bill and five P500 money “boodle” money.
During the inventory of the evidence, the police opened the package wrapped in brown paper and tightly
bound with cellophane tape.
Inside were two rolled black jackets, with the pocket of one jacket yielding a big sachet of suspected
shabu weighing more or less 60 grams and valued at P408,000.
The package’s waybill stated that it originated from the cargo bus company’s terminal at EDSA Cubao
last Nov. 20. 2021.
Interestingly, the document indicated that Sarmiento was the sender while a certain Mike Dimabayao was
Separate charges of possession and sale of dangerous drugs in violation of Sections 5 and 11 of
Republic Act 9165 are now being prepared for filing against the couple.
According to Virac police chief Maj. Antonio Perez, the couple had already underwent intervention under
the Recovery and Wellness Program of the Virac LGU Core Team under Oplan Tokhang but were later
found to have continued their trade, citing tips sent to the “Isumbong Mo Kay Tsip” hotline by concerned
citizens as well as intelligence reports from the field.
With Arcilla and Sarmiento certain to stay in jail for a long time considering the volume of shabu seized
from them, someone else would have to step in and take care of their lone child in their home in Purok 1,
The local law enforcers’ significant accomplishment was the latest in a string of anti-illegal drug
operations that began on Nov. 20 with the implementation of a search warrant at the residence of one
Allan “Kulas” Valeza, 34, jobless, at No. 42 Real St., Calatagan Proper at 4:40 AM.
The target, however, was not at his room at the house, with the other room occupied by his wife and
children who reportedly decided to sleep separate from the husband as a precaution against the
Elements of the Virac police, together with personnel of RPDEU, PDEA, Catanduanes PIU and Criminal
Investigation and Detection Team (CIDT) Catanduanes, found ten sachets of suspected shabu weighing
48 grams and valued at P326,570.
A complaint for possession of dangerous drugs will be filed against Valeza who remains at large.
Some nine hours later in Cabugao, Bato, joint elements of PDEA Catanduanes, Bato and Caramoran
police stations, Catanduanes PIU, and RPDEU arrested a laborer for selling illegal drugs to an
undercover police officer.
Rey Bagadiong Arcilla, 43, also known as “Dodoy,” yielded two plastic sachets containing 52 grams of
shabu worth about P340,000.
He was allegedly among 36 drug pushers and users in Cabugao who surrendered during Oplan Tokhang
He was arrested on Dec. 17 that year after a court-ordered search of his house at San Ramon St. led to
the discovery and seizure of seven small sachets and a big sachet of shabu.
Set free after a plea bargain agreement, he underwent community-based treatment and rehabilitation but
the police later found out that he had continued his illegal trade.
Cases for violations of Sections 5 and 11 of RA 9165 have been filed against Arcilla, who is detained at
the Bato police station, before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor.