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23 June 2024, 23:42 PM

BOC, PNP seize P13.752 million worth of smuggled cigarettes in Zamboanga City

November 9, 2023

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) Port of Zamboanga, in coordination with the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) 2nd Zamboanga City Mobile Force Company “Seaborne”, intercepted a motorized wooden watercraft loaded with smuggled imported cigarettes with an estimated value of P13.752 million along the waters of Maasin, Zamboanga City, last November 6, 2023.
A composite team of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS), Enforcement and Security Service – Customs Police Division (ESS-CPD), and PNP Seaborne Company flagged a motorized wooden watercraft marked “Lautanmas 3” valued at P150,000 during a maritime patrol operation. The vessel was later found as laden with undocumented imported cigarettes, purportedly transported from Jolo, Sulu, and was bound for unloading in Zamboanga City.

A joint inventory conducted by BOC, PNP Seaborne Company, and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) revealed 240 master cases of cigarettes bearing the brands: “San Marino,” “Astro,” “Green Hill,” “New Berlin,” “New Far,” “Cannon,” and “Bravo.” Following a thorough examination by PDEA’s drug-sniffing canines, the seized master cases of cigarettes including the carrying vessel were confirmed negative for illegal drugs.

In a statement, Commissioner Bienvenido Y. Rubio stressed that “the BOC will not tolerate any illicit activity that poses danger to the security and well-being of our citizens. We are relentless in our efforts to combat all forms of smuggling, and we will continue to work with our partner agency to put an end to all nefarious smuggling activities.”

Meanwhile, District Collector Arthur G. Sevilla Jr. lauded the Port of Zamboanga personnel and partner agencies for the successful maritime operations in ZamBaSulTa. He also affirmed that BOC-Port of Zamboanga will remain vigilant against smuggling and other customs fraud, in line with Commissioner Rubio’s directive to implement stringent border control measures in Mindanao.

The vessel and the 240 master cases of cigarettes are currently under the custody of the BOC pending seizure and forfeiture proceedings and eventual disposal for the violation against the “Tobacco Exportation and Importation Rules and Regulations” of the National Tobacco Administration pursuant to Executive Order No. 245 and Section 1117 of the Republic Act No. 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) in relation to Section 1113 paragraphs (f), (a), and (g).

Republic of the Philippines

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