P4.4 million smuggled cigarettes seized in Zamboanga areas

Roel Pareño - The Philippine Star

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Security forces seized around P4.4 million worth of smuggled cigarettes in this city and Zamboanga del Sur in the past two days.

Police said a truck carrying 160 master cases of smuggled cigarettes worth P1.6 million was intercepted in Barangay Lower Landing in Dumingag, Zamboanga del Sur yesterday.

The truck driver and his companion were arrested after failing to present a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test, which is required from non-residents.

On Wednesday, agents of the city police’s Mobile Force Company and Bureau of Customs intelligence service were conducting sea patrol when they intercepted a Malaysian-styled watercraft in the waters off Tumalutap Island.

Maj. Shellamie Chang, Zamboanga peninsula police information officer, said the vessel, which came from Jolo and was bound for Olutanga Island in Zamboanga Sibugay, was loaded with 77 master cases and 23 rims of assorted brands of smuggled cigarettes valued at P2.7 million.

Six crewmembers of the watercraft were arrested.

In Zamboanga del Sur, 242 rims of assorted smuggled cigarettes worth P132,300, loaded in a car, were confiscated at a checkpoint in Labangan town.

Chang said the driver failed to present the necessary documents.

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