In this file photo from February 9, 2019, law enforcement personnel take custody of large boxes of smuggled cigarettes seized in Zamboanga City
Philstar.com/Roel Pareño
Customs destroys P25-M seized smuggled cigarettes
Roel Pareño (Philstar.com) - June 26, 2019 - 1:43pm

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — The customs district office in Zamboanga City destroyed Wednesday some P25 million in smuggled cigarettes that the Philippine Navy seized last week.

Customs District Collector Segundo Sigmunfreud Barte said the immediate destruction of  the seized 740 master cases, or large boxes, was done on orders from Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero after he was informed of the successful operation.

"We were ordered by Commissioner Guerrero that once there is an apprehension of smuggled cigarettes, [the contraband] should be immediately subjected to destruction and coordinated with all the agencies," Barte said.

Barte said the Navy, Coast Guard and even schools assisted by sending students to help destroy the contraband.

"We really lack manpower because we want to hasten the destruction as part of the pre-condemnation so that we will have no problem where to store it... Because right now, we have no available storage area and we also want to avoid rumors of seized contraband [disappearing] from our custody," Barte said.

Barte said the elements of Naval Forces Western Mindanao intercepted the 740 master cases of smuggled cigarettes last Thursday from a motorlaunch that was attempting to berth at aprivate wharf to unload the cigarettes.

The Customs official warned the smugglers, known locally as ‘loaders’, that operations against them will continue.

"Every time they will attempt (to smuggle) we are ready, not just from the Navy and Coast Guard but all stakeholders who are providing us tips," Barte said. 

BUREAU OF CUSTOMS NAVAL FORCES WESTERN MINDANAO PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD ZAMBOANGA CITY
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