P125-M in smuggled cigarettes seized in Misamis Oriental port following tip by China
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) in Northern Mindanao seized at least P125 million in cigarettes smuggled from China which arrived in two shipments here since last week, a Customs official said.
Oliver Valiente, chief of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS), said the first shipment came in three shipping containers detected by the Customs police at the Mindanao Container Terminal sub-port last week. The second shipment arrived on Feb. 14, after a stopover at the ports of Manila and Davao. It was subjected to a spot check on Feb. 16.
“We were able to track the vessel, and upon verification it was positive that the container vans contained cigarettes,” Valiente said. The cargoes were wrongfully declared as pieces of furniture.
Valiente identified the cargo’s consignee as LMRC said to be based in Davao City, but he said it was possible that the group that smuggled the cigarettes employed dummy consignees.
Valiente estimated each cargo’s value at P50 million per container but the regional BOC office has yet to determine the actual value of the cigarettes with the brand names Marvels and Two Moons.
John Simon, regional BOC district collector, said the BOC counterpart from China, through a bilateral cooperation agreement, informed Philippine Customs officials about the arrival of illegal goods.
“It was a government-to-government coordination that led to the detection of illegal cigarettes. We consider every information that we receive as important and worth to be verified,” said Simon, who just received an award from the United Nations for intercepting and eventually, sending back to South Korea the imported wastes that arrived at the Tagoloan port in 2018.
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