BOC seizes P1.4 billion worth of smuggled cigarettes in Sulu warehouse
MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Thursday raided a warehouse in Indanan, Sulu and confiscated 19,000 boxes or 9.5 million packs of various brands of smuggled cigarettes worth P1.425 billion, so far the biggest haul under the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and in recent years for a single trade enforcement.
The raiding teams of BOC, Wesmincom, 11th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, PAF-SPOW, Philippine Navy-NAVSOU, and Philippine Navy Naval Forces Mindanao swooped down on a warehouse in Sitio Buotan, Kajatian, Indanan.
BOC Deputy Commissioner Juvymax Uy said they seized assorted illegal imported brands of cigarettes such as B&E Ice menthol, Souvenir menthol, New Far menthol, Cannon menthol, BroadPeak Black menthol, and Bravo, which translates to P7.6 billion in potential losses in excise, value-added tax, and penalties.
Last week, the BOC also intercepted and confiscated 9,500 boxes or 4.75 million packs of allegedly smuggled cigarettes in the vicinity of BJ Wharf, also in Indanan, Sulu, with potential government revenue losses in excise, value-added tax, and penalties amounting to P3.8 billion.
This brings the total haul to 28,500 boxes or 14.25 million packs of imported smuggled cigarettes seized by the BOC in the past two weeks.
The combined potential government losses for the two-week operations were estimated to be P11.4 billion.
During the March 2 raid, the warehouse representative identified as Nomil K. Arani witnessed the whole process after receiving the letter of authority by the raiding team.
The combined government forces immediately hauled the 19,000 cases of illegal cigarettes and transferred to Port of Zamboanga via Philippine Navy vessel.
Customs Examiners of Port of Zamboanga started the inventory of the goods with the presence of Manila International Container Port (MICP) agents and witnessed by Philippine National Police and barangay officials and warehouse representatives.
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