Nearly P3M in shabu, firearm seized in Iloilo sting

By Jennifer P. Rendon

A 49-year-old man, two years out of prison, was arrested again in a La Paz, Iloilo City drug sting on the morning of April 12.

Damian Cataluña, originally from Barangay Sinikway, Lapuz, was apprehended at his temporary residence in Zone 3, Barangay Caingin, La Paz.

The Iloilo City Police Office – City Drug Enforcement Unit (ICPO-CDEU), with the support of Iloilo City Police Station 2, Iloilo City Mobile Force Company, and Maritime Police Station – Iloilo, conducted the operation that led to Cataluña’s arrest following a P12,000 shabu transaction.

Upon searching, authorities found Cataluña in possession of 16 sachets and 10 knot-tied plastic packs of suspected shabu, a .45 caliber Colt pistol (serial number 486502) with a magazine and seven bullets, along with various non-drug items.

Lt. Col. Antonio Benitez Jr., chief of the CDEU, reported the drugs have an estimated street value of P2,924,000.

Previously incarcerated for a drug offense in 2013 and released in 2018, Cataluña was rearrested later that year in August, only to be released again in 2022 through a plea bargain.

Benitez noted Cataluña’s alleged drug supply chain was traced back to contacts at New Bilibid Prison. Street-level dealers identified him as a primary source in the city.

Cataluña, currently detained, faces charges under the Republic Act 9165, also known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.