ZAMBOANGA CITY - The Bureau of Customs-Port of Zamboanga (BOC-POZ) has successfully apprehended nine crew members and confiscated 482 master cases of smuggled cigarettes with an estimated value of over PHP27 million.
According to Philippines News Agency, the operation also led to the seizure of a motorized wooden craft, valued at PHP400,000, in Barangay Baliwasan on January 26.
The BOC Water Patrol Division (WPD), in collaboration with the Enforcement and Security Service-Customs Police Division and Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service, conducted the maritime patrol that resulted in the capture of the vessel named "FB JFM 2." The boat, also referred to as "jungkong," was discovered to be loaded with contraband cigarettes during the inspection.
The crew members were detained after they failed to provide the necessary documents to verify the legality of their cargo. Assistance from the 2nd Zamboanga City Mobile Force Company was pivotal in transporting the seized boat and its cargo to the BOC office in Barangay Baliwasan for a thorough inventory.
The seized items are currently held by the BOC, pending seizure and forfeiture proceedings for breaching Section 1113(a) of the Republic Act 10863, also known as the "Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) of 2016," in conjunction with Section 117 and the Tobacco Exportation and Importation Rules and Regulations.
Furthermore, a smuggling case has been filed against the nine crew members for violating Section 1401 of the CMTA. They are currently detained at the Zamboanga City Police Station 11, awaiting further legal proceedings.