The Bureau of Customs (BOC), through the joint operations of the Manila International Container Port-Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (MICP-CIIS) and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), seized an estimated P9 million worth of imported fake cigarettes from a warehouse located in Valenzuela City.
The composite team implemented the Letter of Authority (LOA) and Mission Order (MO) signed by the Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero when they inspected the warehouse found to contain master cases of imported fake cigarettes, such as Marlboro reds, Mighty, Modern Cigarettes, Carnival, Red Golden Dragon (RGD) Classic, and others.
The packs of cigarettes contain the same Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) stamps and serial numbers.
Jeoffrey C. Tacio, CIIS Director shared that the team acted immediately upon receiving intelligence reports about the warehouse.
“It is not even enough that we seize a whole warehouse, where these cigarettes without permits and legitimate stamps were found. We need to find the root of these operations,” Tacio said.
Also found in the Valenzuela City warehouse was a vehicle at the storage area. Upon inspection, several master cases of cigarettes were seen in the passenger seat and the rear seats.
The smugglers removed the rear seats and used the space to store and transport illegal and fake cigarettes.
The goods were hauled to the BOC premises, where it will be subjected to seizure and forfeiture proceedings for violating Section 118 concerning Section 1113 of Republic Act 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
Customs Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Raniel Ramiro lauded the operations for stopping the distribution of these fake cigarette products from reaching the markets.
“Our people trust us to do our jobs well, and that means ensuring that only safe and legal products enter our markets. It is upon the Bureau to protect the borders from these criminals, to free the local markets from illegal practices that put our efforts into question,” he said.