3 boatloads of ‘smuggled rice’ seized in Zamboanga

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ZAMBOANGA CITY — Authorities have seized   three wooden-hulled ferries loaded with smuggled rice off this city, an official disclosed early this week.

Lieutenant  Noriel Ramos, Zamboanga Coast Guard Station commander, disclosed that the vessels were intercepted in a joint law enforcement operation around 6:50 p.m. Saturday near the shore of Barangay Baliwasan, this city.

Ramos said the joint team was conducting patrol aboard on two Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boats (RHIB) of the Coast Guard when they intercepted the three wooden-hulled vessels loaded with rice.

The intercepted vessels were M/V Aizalyn 3, M/L Jasmin Michael and M/L Habiba, all homeported in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi. The vessels were each loaded with sacks of rice believed to have come from Malaysia.

Ramos said the cargoes were consigned to two people identified only as a certain Salam and Musad, both alleged smugglers based in this city.

He said they have yet to conduct an inventory jointly with the Bureau of Customs to determine the exact volume of the cargo aboard the three vessels, but believed these to be worth millions of pesos.

The vessels are currently moored at a private wharf in this city, he added.

Ramos said the apprehending team is made up of personnel from the Coast Guard Southwestern Mindanao District, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the military, and the police.-PNA

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