BOC seizes millions of smuggled cigarettes in GenSan

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 3 June) – Authorities here early today seized a 40-foot container van full of hundreds of cases of cigarettes concealed in corrugated cardboard sheets.

SNIFFER. A K9 handler of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency leads a dog to check for possible drugs in a container van that contained hundreds of boxes of cigarettes misdeclared as box-making materials at the Makar Port in General Santos City on Wednesday (3 June 2020). MindaNews photo by ROMMEL G. REBOLLIDO

The contraband came from Vietnam aboard MV Barry Trad that arrived at 10 a.m. at the Makar Wharf, according to port collector Elenita Abano.

She said they learned of the illegal shipment when they were informed by their head office after Vietnamese authorities informed the Interpol in Manila, which alerted the National Bureau of Investigation and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

The custom official said they were informed that a container van bearing numbers CMAV 5502140 was aboard a boat from Vietnam, prompting them to check on the cargo of MV Barry Trad. The van went through X-ray that revealed the boxes of cigarettes.

Each box of the confiscated cigarette consists of 25 reams and in each ream are 20 packs. The cargo was consigned to a Bengur Trading in this city, Abano said.

She explained they could not ascertain as of yet the actual value of the seized items because the said brand of cigarette is not available in the local market. “We have no basis for its value yet,” Abano said.

After the interview with Abano, a local radio reporter tried and was able to buy a pack of the said brand from a vendor for 30 pesos.

Abano said they also have sought a warrant for seizure and detention of the said shipment even as they are preparing charges for misdeclaration of cargo in violation of the Customs and Tariff Act to be filed against the consignee, Bengur Trading. (Rommel G. Rebollido / MindaNews)