Guns, contraband seized in Misamis Oriental container terminal came from US – BOC
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Customs authorities at the Mindanao Container Terminal in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, said the over P1.4 million worth of firearms and contraband found inside a container van, which they seized on Thursday, originated from the United States.
The seizure came barely a week after Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina visited the port and ordered the Bureau of Customs (BOC) officials in Northern Mindanao to open dozens of container vans stocked at the MCT, which had previously been seized, flagged, or had been abandoned by their importers.
Alvin Enciso, chief of the BOC Northern Mindanao’s intelligence and investigation service, said one of the containers vans they opened on Thursday – which was declared to contain tractors – yielded a used Harley Davidson bike; a washing machine that had as parts firearms and accessories that could be assembled into a Glock 42 pistol; a Ruger .380 pistol; and an M4 Spikes Tactical rifle.
These were hidden at the far end of the container van, along with such other items as night vision goggles, flat-screen TV sets, several other washing machines, tools, machineries, and other personal effects, Enciso said.
“When we stripped the container, we discovered a false wall. Inside it were the hidden contraband,” Enciso told the Inquirer.
He said the shipper of the container van, which came in from the US in December, also removed some parts of the tractor to prevent the Customs from getting them out easily.
“But it did not mean that we can’t take the cargoes out of the container,” he said.
“They really have planned to conceal [the contraband],” Enciso added.
He said the container van had not gone through the Customs X-ray as the shipment had already been subject of an alert when the broker suddenly changed the name of the consignee in December.
When an imported shipment is flagged, the Customs can “strip” or instantly open it to verify its contents even with the X-ray procedure.
Enciso said the BOC has already contacted the broker and from the flow of the communication, it appeared the importer had not fully –declared the contents of the container van.
Enciso said they would recommend the forfeiture of the cargo and the filing of arms smuggling case against the importer and the broker, both of whom, he did not identify. SFM
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