ZAMBOANGA CITY – Bureau of Customs (BOC) operatives have arrested 11 persons and seized some PHP25 million worth of smuggled cigarettes off this city, a top BOC official said Friday.
The personnel of the Water Patrol Division (WPD) and Enforcement and Security Service-Customs Police Division (ESS-CPD) were on routine patrol when they spotted a motorboat Thursday near Santa Cruz Island heading to the city.
Segundo Sigmundfreud Barte Jr., BOC-Zamboanga District collector, said when authorities inspected the motorboat manned by an 11-man crew, it was found loaded with 707 master cases of cigarettes worth PHP25 million.
Barte said the motorboat crew was arrested and their cargo seized after failing to provide importation documents for the goods.
Investigation showed the shipment of cigarettes came from the island town of Pangutaran, Sulu and bound for Barangay Baliwasan here, he added.
Barte said the crew members were placed under interrogation and profiling while the motorboat and contraband were placed under the custody of the BOC-Zamboanga for proper disposition.
He said a case for violation of Republic Act 10863, otherwise known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act of 2016. (With reports from Ferdinand Patinio/PNA)