Warehouse of ‘fake’ cigarettes busted in Pangasinan
DAGUPAN CITY –– Agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Friday, April 23, raided a warehouse in Alaminos City, Pangasinan province, where they found 90 boxes of alleged fake cigarettes.
NBI Dagupan District Office chief Rizaldy Jaymalin said the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) issued the mission order to inspect the warehouse owned by Elpidio Mendoza and his wife in Barangay Poblacion.
The BIR would file tax evasion charges against the suspects who are reportedly using fake tax stamps.
In a phone interview, Jaymalin said the NBI, on the other hand, would file charges for violation of intellectual property rights.
BIR Regional Office investigation chief Ted Paragas and representatives from the Intellectual Property Rights and the company that manufactures Marlboro were present during the raid.
The fake cigarettes cost P4.5 million in tax losses, Paragas said.
Some cigarette brands are believed to be locally manufactured, while the other brands were smuggled from Thailand.
Jaymalin said the raid was a product of surveillance operations, with a test-buy conducted last week, after which NBI Director Eric Distor ordered the conduct of the raid.
He said these counterfeit cigarettes could be sold in local stores if they were not discovered.
Jaymalin said he was once victimized by those selling fake cigarettes when he bought a pack from a sari-sari (variety) store in Binmaley town.
“It tasted awful. I was sure it was fake,” he said. INQ
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