Police seizes P9.2-M smuggled cigarettes

ZAMBOANGA CITY — Authorities arrested five persons transporting 205 master cases of assorted smuggled cigarettes worth P9.225 million during a three-day anti-smuggling campaign in this city and Zamboanga del Sur.

The Bureau of Customs Zamboanga City District on Thursday reported the launching of a three-day campaign against anti-smuggling that started Tuesday.

Barte reported that policemen in tandem with members of the Customs, Intelligence and Investigation Service, and Enforcement and Security Service Quick Reaction Team conducted the campaign to curb the proliferation of smuggled cigarettes.

According to Barte policemen of the 2nd Zamboanga del Sur Provincial Mobile Force Company and ESS-QRT intercepted 164 master cases of assorted smuggled cigarettes worth P7.38 million at a checkpoint at Purok 6, Sitio Marao, Barangay Depase in Bayog town in Zamboanga del Sur at about 2:15 p.m. on Thursday.

Barte said that while in the conduct of a checkpoint, the team flagged down a white Mitsubishi delivery van loaded with154 master cases of smuggled cigarettes carrying the brand President.

When the authorities asked for their permit to transport the tobacco leave products, the driver of the van Jeeferson Lagrimas Amabao and his helper Vicente Rodriguez Garcia failed to show any.

Immediately the team seized the cargo and the vehicle and brought Amabao and Garcia to Bayog Municipal Police Station for questioning.

Barte revealed that elements of the Labangan Municipal Police Station seized 30 master cases of smuggled cigarettes worth P1.35 million and arrested the driver of the vehicle during their anti-smuggling campaign at Purok Kumirap, Barangay Dimasangca, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur on 12 October.

Policemen of the Zamboanga City Police Station also intercepted a mini cargo truck at MCLL Highway in Barangay Curuan in Zamboanga City and were found loaded with 11 master cases of smuggled cigarettes worth P495,000.

Barte said the driver of the mini truck and his helper were also brought to the police station for questioning.

Barte admitted that most smugglers in the Zamboanga peninsula or Region 9 and Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi (BaSulTa) provinces are seemingly not afraid of authorities who are strictly enforcing a campaign on border control as ordered by Customs Commissioner Yogi Filemon Ruiz.

“Well, they can continue to bring in their smuggled goods and we will also continue to seize their goods and arrest them,” Barte said.

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