BOC seizes P29.5 M marijuana concealed in balikbayan boxes | Inquirer News

BOC seizes P29.5 M marijuana concealed in balikbayan boxes

By: - Reporter / @zacariansINQ
/ 04:42 PM April 26, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) seized an estimated P29.5 million worth of marijuana along with other smuggled goods from balikbayan boxes at the Manila International Container Port (MICP).

 According to a recent statement from the BOC, the illegal items were discovered upon a total physical examination of the MICP’s designated examination area.

Seventy-four boxes that arrived on April 12 from Thailand were inspected by the BOC, three of which have so far been discovered to contain 21,071 grams of dried marijuana or kush.


The first box had around 6,400 grams of dried marijuana packed in 24 pieces of plastic pouch; the second box had 9,771 grams packed in 42 pieces of plastic pouch; and the third box had  4,900 grams packed in 22 pieces of plastic pouch.


“Based on the report from our field station at the MICP, the shipment was declared to contain only household items, shoes, and motor parts from Thailand. We so far opened three boxes out of the 74 boxes found and now we have positive confirmation of the presence of marijuana,” Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service-MICP Director Verne Enciso said.

The seized marijuana had an estimated street value of P29,499,400 and was consigned to a certain Wilma Bulahagui and Erickson Bulahagui.

MICP District Collector Mimel Talusan  immediately issued a Warrant of Seizure and Detention (WSD) on the shipment following the discovery of the contraband.

The BOC said all consignees, senders, and recipients of the balikbayan boxes may face charges in violation of Section 118 (prohibited importation and exportation) and Section 1400 (misdeclaration) in goods declaration in relation to Section 1113 (property subject to seizure and forfeiture) of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) and Republic Act No. 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002).

 Meanwhile, BOC Commissioner Bien Rubio gave assurance that the agency will remain committed to stopping the entry of smuggled goods and illegal drugs into the country.

“We are seeing this modus more and more these days of marijuana being shipped through balikbayan boxes, which have become symbols of the Filipino diaspora. It’s sad to think that this modus is using something ubiquitous to every Filipino family as a balikbayan box because it degrades what that box symbolizes for us,” he said.

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TAGS: Customs, marijuana

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