Smuggled cigarettes seized in NorthCot

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 26 Aug) – Operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) confiscated a truck loaded with smuggled cigarettes from at least three ambulant vendors in Tulunan, North Cotabato on Saturday.

Authorities identified the truck owner as Johnny Pacal, 49, from Barangay Tapay in M’lang, North Cotabato, who admitted having sold smuggled cigarettes for a month now.

“They were just dropped in my stall. I don’t know who the main supplier is,” Pacal claimed, referring to the cigarettes.

A CIDG operative told media here that they received a tip from informants in Tulunan that ambulant vendors are once again selling smuggled cigarettes in the town center.

“We responded to the call and when we arrived at the area we saw them displaying the smuggled cigarettes in their stalls,” said the operative.

The CIDG has yet to determine the total cost of the confiscated items now placed under their custody.

On Tuesday, the CIDG will file charges of violating Tariff and Customs Code against Pacal and his crew identified as Elfrans Nicor, 22, and Jeffrey Orong Sanot, 23, both residents of Barangay La Esperanza, Tulunan.

Meantime, the CIDG denied reports they were extorting P100,000 cash from Pacal and his group so they would be freed from criminal charges.

Pacal, when asked by media, refuted the extortion reports. “No, there’s no such thing. We were not being asked to produce P100,000. That is not true,” Pacal said.

He said they are willing to face charges in court.

Pacal, however, refused to identify their main supplier, adding that they don’t get to personally meet with the supplier. “He just made sure we get the stocks and later, he would ask payments,” he said (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)