Smuggled cigarettes worth over P24M intercepted by combined BOC team in Zamboanga

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OVER P24 million worth of smuggled cigarettes were intercepted by a combined team from the Bureau of Customs-Port of Zamboanga (BOC-POZ) and other law enforcement agencies along the waters off Brgy. Sinunuc, Zamboanga City last week.

The team conducted a joint maritime patrol operation as part of efforts to intensify border control against smuggling. This led to the interception of a motorized wooden watercraft marked “MB UTOH MAT MAT” that was loaded with boxes of cigarettes.

An inventory conducted by the BOC revealed that the vessel was carrying 423 master cases of cigarettes of various brands such as President and Cannon Menthol.

Upon closer inspection, the five crew members said they came from Jolo, Sulu and was bound for Zamboanga City, yet they failed to provide documents proving the lawful importation of the cargo.

Acting District Collector Arthur Sevilla Jr. emphasized that the Port of Zamboanga closely coordinated with other operating units in conducting maritime patrol operations pursuant to the directive of Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio to improve strategies in BOC’s fight against the illicit cigarette trade.

The vessel and the smuggled cargo were ordered seized and currently detained for violation of Section 1113 (a) of R.A. 10863, otherwise known as the “Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) of 2016″ in relation to Section 117 and “Tobacco Exportation and Importation Rules and Regulations.”

The BOC-POZ operation was conducted through its Enforcement and Security Service (ESS) and Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS), in close coordination with the 2nd Zamboanga City Mobile Force Company “Seaborne.”

(PHOTO CREDIT: BOC Facebook page)

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