Cops, Marines seize 66 dried turtles in house in Tawi-TawiPhilippine Daily Inquirer
ZAMBOANGA CITY—Police and Marines seized at least 66 dried turtles in a house in Sitangkai, Tawi-Tawi, on Tuesday.
Senior Supt. Rodelio Joscon, Tawi-Tawi police chief, said a suspect identified as Utong Gumbahali, 37, has been arrested and charged with violating laws that ban the harvest of turtles and other endangered marine animals.
Jocson said a team of policemen and Marines was on sea patrol in Barangay Datu Puti past 2 p.m. on Tuesday when it spotted a house with dried sea turtles.
The team members approached the house and seized the dried turtles, according to Jocson.
Police took custody of the banned items.
Poaching of turtles and other banned marine species remains unabated in the vast sea expanse surrounding Western Mindanao areas.
In May last year, the Bureau of Customs in Manila seized some P31 million worth of banned marine species harvested in the region and shipped to Manila by several companies based in this city.
Asis Perez, the national director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), said several more raids on some companies here yielded tons of banned marine species.
Among those charged with violating the Fisheries Code and other laws were couples Olivia Li and husband Li Ming Nyu (alias Joe Pring), Benny and Rosario Yu and several other persons. The Lis remain at large.
The Yus had contested the charges, arguing that they just rented out their warehouse to the Lis unaware of the Lis’ involvement in the illegal harvest of marine animals.
Benjamin Tabios Jr., the BFAR Manila assistant director, described the volume of the seized banned marine species from the Lis as “five times more than what was seized in Manila.”
The raid on the warehouse operated by the Lis yielded 41 metric tons of endangered marine animals worth at least P155 million, said Tabios. Julie Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao