P10-M worth fake cigarettes, goods seized in oro

BUREAU of Customs (BOC) officials from Northern Mindanao and from the office of Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon confiscated fake imported tobacco products and other goods with an estimated value of P10 million in various warehouses during a series of raids in Cagayan de Oro, the agency said Wednesday, October 10.

Sonny Sarmiento, Customs technical assistant at the office of the Commissioner, said they received information that smuggled and counterfeit items have proliferated in the region, specifically in Cagayan de Oro.

On a written order of Faeldon, Sarmiento said they conducted the raid on at least two warehouses owned by a certain Mr. Chan, with the coordination of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

Sarmiento added they have yet to verify the complete name of the owner of the items as they also demand pertinent documents and import permits from him.

Customs was able to determine the goods to be counterfeit based on the findings of the technical product experts the agency has tapped for verification purposes.

Sarmiento said the experts have a set of parameters and were able to establish that the products were fake based on those factors.

The bulk of the seized goods were boxes of cigarettes with different brand names coming reportedly from mainland China and Taiwan.

Sarmiento said the experts surmised that the cigarettes bore fake serial numbers and other markings through the use of a cellphone application that can be used to scan an item.

The more than 300 boxes of cigarettes alone were valued at P7.5 million based on the prevailing market price.

Aside from the cigarettes, also confiscated were firecrackers, insecticide, medicines, mosquito killers, wires and insecticide.

Sarmiento said they will give the owner of the items a chance to explain and show any legal documents, “then we will process it [documents] and the district collector will communicate with them.”

If the seized products are indeed legal based on the documents submitted, he said they might release them.

Lawyer Roswald Joseph Pague, BOC-Northern Mindanao assistant collector, said the confiscated goods will be brought to the district office for further verification and assessment.

Alvin Enciso, chief of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS), said they have assisted Sarmiento and Captain Joenel Pogoy, also from Faeldon’s office, in the conduct of the raids.
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