Navy intercepts P20M smuggled cigarettes in Zamboanga City
ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Philippine Navy has intercepted a seacraft that contained smuggled tobacco products valued at P20 million.
Rear Admiral Erick Kagaoan, commander of Naval Forces Western Mindanao (Navforwem), today revealed that the vessel, which contained boxes of imported cigarettes, was intercepted by their anti-smuggling forces in the seawater of Lower Calarian, Zamboanga City on April 9.
Kagaoan said they found on the vessel named “MJ Andrea 1” a total of 1,159 boxes of undocumented assorted tobacco products and 49 reams of Canon brand cigarettes.
MJ Andrea 1 was believed to have come from Sulu province while the smuggled items came from Malaysia, according to Navy Captain Richard Gonzaga, commander of Naval Task Force 61.
The smuggled cigarettes were consigned to several persons.
“There were many who owned the smuggled cigarettes, so what our units did, they confiscated all the items and properly turned them over to the Bureau of Customs in Zamboanga City for proper disposition,” Gonzaga said.
The intercepted watercraft was escorted to the Zamboanga City Pier and held by the Philippine Coast Guard on behalf of the BOC in Zamboanga City.
This is the government’s third big haul of smuggled cigarettes that attempted to enter Zamboanga City since February this year.
In March, the Joint Task Force Sulu apprehended drug suspects and recovered smuggled cigarettes valued at P2.2 million.
On Feb. 9, the Navy seized 12,640 boxes of imported tobacco products inside commercial vessel MV Kristel with a market value of P11 million. The commercial boat came from Sulu.
In November last year, the Philippine Coast Guard here also intercepted smuggled cigarettes worth P300,000 that reportedly came from Bongao, Tawi-Tawi./lzb
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