Shipment of P10.7-M smuggled cigarettes seized

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ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) along with the Bureau of Customs (BOC) operatives have seized a shipment of some P10.7 million worth of smuggled cigarettes at dawn Thursday off this city.

Rear Admiral Toribio Adaci, Jr., NFWM commander, said Friday that the Naval Task Force 61 composed of Navy Seals and intelligence operatives together with BOC personnel were conducting maritime patrol when they intercepted a motorboat, M/B Princess Amina, manned by a seven-man crew at vicinity seawaters off Barangay Sinunuc, west of this city.

Adaci said the conduct of maritime patrol was in response to the report that a vessel loaded with smuggled cigarettes was seen to have sailed from Jolo, Sulu to this city.

M/B Princess Amina was found to be loaded with some 300 master cases of assorted smuggled cigarettes with an estimated market value of P10,685,000 when the joint Navy and BOC team conducted Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) operation.

He said the vessel was escorted to Naval Station Romulo Espaldon proper inspection and inventory.

He said that all of the confiscated smuggled cigarettes were turned over to the custody of BOC-Zamboanga District for appropriate action.

The shipment was intercepted two days after the BOC has destroyed some P50 million worth of smuggled cigarettes in this city.

BOC–Zamboanga District Collector Segundo Sigmundreud Barte, Jr., said the destroyed smuggled cigarettes consisting of 1,278 master cases and 513 reams were seized in separate anti-smuggling campaign since December 2020.

The cigarettes were destroyed on Tuesday with the use of a heavy equipment in full public view in an outdoor yard of a BOC-rented warehouse in Barangay Baliwasan, this city.

The destroyed cigarettes were later disposed in this city’s sanitary landfill in Barangay Salaan. – Nikolai Gonzalo

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