MANILA — Bureau of Customs (BOC) agents busted smuggled tobacco products and other cigarette-making paraphernalia with an estimated value of P256.5 million inside a warehouse along Tanza-Trece Martires Road in Brgy. De Ocampo, Trece Martirez, Cavite.
The successful seizure was effected with assistance from the National Bureau of Investigation Special Action Unit (NBI SAU) which also led to the arrest of four Chinese nationals who will face appropriate legal charges in relation to smuggling.
The raiding team, composed of personnel from Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service-Manila International Container Port (CIIS-MICP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), implemented the Letter of Authority (LOA) and Mission Order (MO) issued by Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero.
The BOC personnel who inspected the imported goods stored at the compound in Trece Martirez, Cavite on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, discovered raw materials for cigarettes, such as tobacco filler, filter paper, and paper rod, with an estimated amount of P105 million.
They also found one filter maker, two cigarette makers, and six packing machines worth P75 million; four boxes of tax stamps worth P18 million each for a total of P72 million; and 81 master cases of Marvels cigarettes worth P50,000 each for a total of P4.05 million.
Finished cigarette products, such as Marvels, Two Moon, Mighty, and others were also found in the warehouse.
Assigned Customs examiners, in the presence of members of the CIIS, Enforcement and Security Service (ESS), barangay officials, and representatives of the warehouse, conducted an inventory of the warehouse.
Once the complete inventory of the regulated goods is done, Deputy Commissioner Raniel Ramiro and CIIS Director Jeoffrey C. Tacio are expected to recommend the issuance of a Warrant of Seizure and Detention (WSD), as well as the filing of appropriate and related charges against the warehouse operator.
“We’ve always worked on the assumption that today is our last day or our last chance to curb smuggling. I am proud of our Customs agents for going above and beyond their call of duty to protect our borders and improve our anti-smuggling initiatives,” Guerrero said in a statement.
“The smear campaign against us will not deter us from doing our work. The goal remains the same, and that’s to pursue criminals who make a mockery of our laws,” Guerrero added.
“The BOC is working double time even now that a new administration is about to take over and amid well-funded efforts to tarnish the Bureau’s gains.”
(Kiara Lauren Ibanez/BENJAMIN CUARESMA)