Customs padlocks warehouse tagged in tire smuggling
CEBU CITY—Bureau of Customs officials in Cebu sealed on Wednesday the warehouse in the city that was tagged as the source of four cargo containers loaded with used tires, which were illegally withdrawn from the port of Cebu.
Cebu District Collector Arnulfo Marcos and his chief of staff, Kenneth Kern Sesante, said the four containers were part of a total of 15 containers that were removed from the port of Cebu in June and July without the payment of duties and taxes worth P8 million.
The other containers were reportedly delivered to Iloilo.
Marcos said based on intelligence reports, the four containers loaded with tires were brought to a store selling tires in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City.
With a letter of authority issued by Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina, Marcos, Sesante and other customs personnel went to the store on Wednesday to ask for proof of payment of duties.
If the owner could not show proof of payment, the bureau would issue a warrant of seizure and detention for the goods.
But customs officials found that the containers were brought to the store’s warehouse at the port.
When customs officials checked the warehouse, it was padlocked.
Marcos said officials sealed the entrance of the warehouse as the bureau waits for the warehouse owner to show proof of payment of duties.
Sesante said since the used tires are considered contraband, criminal charges would be filed against those behind the shipments, which came from Korea and Japan.
Among those to be charged, said Sesante, are the shipments’ consignee, broker and customs officials who connived in the illegal release of the shipments.
Those facing charges include workers at the port and gatekeepers who are supposed to prevent the release of shipments without proof of payment of duties.
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