Hitman wanted for murder, homicide nabbed inside sea vessel

A HITMAN and leader of a drug group who had been wanted for murder and homicide was arrested inside a passenger sea vessel bound for Mindanao Thursday, November 3, 2022.

Nabbed through two separate warrants of arrest was Argie Codera Abella, 37, of Sitio Tarcom, Upper Laguerta, Barangay Busay, Cebu City, who has been considered the number 2 most wanted person in Central Visayas.

The arrest was made inside a passenger vessel in Pier 1, Barangay San Roque, Cebu City by personnel of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Cebu City Field Unit led by Police Lieutenant Colonel Randy Korret at 9:27 p.m. Thursday, November 3, 2022.

A warrant for Abella’s arrest for murder was issued by Judge Ma. Lynna Pacamalan Adviento of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 58, Cebu City dated March 10, 2022. No bail has been recommended for his temporary liberty.

Another warrant was issued by Judge Ricky Jones Macabaya of RTC Branch 5, this time for homicide. The court recommended a bail of P120,000 for Abella’s temporary liberty.

Korret said Abella is a member of a criminal gang involved in gun running, robbery-holdup and illegal drug trade in Cebu City and nearby areas in Cebu Province.

The arrest was made after the CIDG received information that Abella was about to flee Cebu, prompting the authorities to launch a manhunt operation.

The operation was conducted by the CIDG together with the Cebu City Mobile Force Company, Mabolo Police Station, Regional Intelligence Unit 7, Cebu Port Authority Police and Philippine Coast Guard.

Police Colonel Peter Miguel Tagtag Jr., chief of CIDG-Central Visayas, said Abella was using another name when he took the passenger vessel, based on the manifest obtained by the agency.

“Based doon sa evaluation ng mga intel natin at sa investigation, ito ay considered as top most wanted person in the region. Ngayon lang na tsambahan. Actually, pasaka na sa barko ito pero nahabol pa natin,” said Tagtag.

(Based on the evaluation and intelligence report, Abella is considered one of the most wanted persons in the region. He was about to board the ship, but we were able to catch him.)

The CIDG personnel made the arrest inside the vessel.

Abella’s group was reportedly behind the robbery-holdup incidents in Metro Cebu, but it shifted to peddling illegal drugs and firearms.

It was allegedly involved in the shooting incident that happened in Sitio Tarcom in Barangay Busay on June 23, 2019.

Investigation conducted by the Mabolo Police Station revealed that Abella’s group had a fight with Ernesto Salvador Pohinio, 32, a resident of Sitio Tarcom, when another victim, Juniel Layla Codera, 28, arrived to pacify the warring parties on June 23, 2019.

One of the suspects, Junard Llamado, 44, grabbed a firearm and shot Pohinio three times. Abella then grabbed the gun from Llamado and shot Codera, who was also his friend.

Pohinio and Codera were rushed to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center but were declared dead on arrival due to multiple gunshot wounds in their bodies.

Llamado and Abella, as well as the latter’s two brothers, Arnel and Teldo, and Rotchel Daan were charged with murder for the incident.

The five were identified as members of the Abella Criminal Gang who had been hiding in Sitio Tarcom. Residents in the sitio were reportedly afraid of the group due to their being part of the criminal group.

The Abella group has also been identified as behind the shooting of an alleged female asset of the Mabolo Police Station.

Cebu City Police Office Chief Police Colonel Ireneo Dalogdog said with the arrest of Abella Thursday, a number of cases will be solved, stressing that based on information they obtained, the group was involved in a number of shooting incidents in Barangay Busay involving police assets.

“Sa maong pagka dakop, daghang kaso ang masulbad ani labi natong mga pusil sa area sa Mabolo Police Station,” said Dalogdog.

(The arrest will help solve especially the shooting cases under the Mabolo Police Station.)

The CIDG reported that Abella took the vessel bound for Mindanao on Thursday supposedly to get a supply of illegal drugs.

It added that Abella can dispose of five kilos of shabu every month. He was also reportedly the supplier of illegal drug players operating in Barangay Apas, Lahug and Duljo Fatima in Cebu City.

These drug players were also used as hitmen against those who failed to pay the illegal drugs. They hid at Sitio Tarcom following the operation, said the CIDG. (AYB/LMY)