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Smuggled rice, boat missing from Zamboanga port

/ 05:32 PM December 17, 2014

zamboanga-city-mapZAMBOANGA CITY – About P9-million worth of smuggled rice has gone missing —along with the motor launch carrying it— three days after it was intercepted by the Philippine Navy here.

The missing contraband was part of 16,000 50-kilo sacks of imported rice, loaded on four launches that were intercepted on the shoreline of the Recodo district here on Monday morning.

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Rear Adm. Reynaldo Yoma, commander of Naval Forces Western Mindanao, said a Navy assault boat was conducting a maritime patrol when it intercepted the vessels on Monday.

The Navy also intercepted 4,550 Falcatta logs in one of the boats.

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The total value of the smuggled rice was placed at P20 Million.

But by Wednesday morning, some of the smuggled rice and one of the boats that carried it had vanished from the Zamboanga City port.

“We were shocked to learn this morning (Wednesday) that one of the four vessels our operatives intercepted last Monday is missing from the Zamboanga City port,” said Ensign Ian Chester Ramos, spokesperson of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao.

Yoma said earlier that the confiscated cargo had been turned over to the Bureau of Customs.

“On Tuesday, the boat was still there. We were just notified about the missing boat this morning. Our unit’s hard work went in vain,” Ramos said.

Miguel Saquisami, the newly installed customs’ district collector, confirmed to the Inquirer that one of the boats, ML Ayang, was missing.

Saquisami, in a text message to the Inquirer, said they were checking reports that the boat was already in Jolo, Sulu.

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Saquisami earlier told the Inquirer by phone that he could not provide details of who owned the cargo and where it came from.

Saquisami said some of the crew members of the three remaining boats were being investigated, “but we cannot provide details now because we are trying to apprehend again the ML Ayang.”

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TAGS: Crime, News, Philippine Navy, Regions, rice smuggling, Zamboanga
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