CEBU

Customs foils 3rd bid to smuggle cigarettes

TWO containers of smuggled cigarettes from China with an estimated street value of P88.1 million were seized by the Bureau of Customs Port of Cebu (BOC-Cebu) on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020.

The shipments, which were declared to contain umbrellas and various home furniture, arrived at Pier 6 on Aug. 8 and 13.

Both were consigned to GRR Trading, according to the inward foreign manifest. This is the company’s third attempt to smuggle cigarettes from China into Cebu.

GRR Trading was also the consignee of two shipments that were seized by the BOC-Cebu within the last two weeks for containing undeclared cases of cigarettes.

In a statement on Wednesday, Sept. 2, the BOC-Cebu said this string of smuggling attempts were thwarted because of heightened border protection measures.

The installation of a portal X-ray machine at the Cebu International Port also boosted the Port of Cebu’s anti-smuggling drive.

Acting BOC-Cebu District Collector Charlito Martin Mendoza issued pre-lodgement control orders (PLCOs) against the shipments on Aug. 28.

A PLCO is a written order authorizing customs officials to exercise jurisdiction over an imported shipment prior to lodgement of goods declaration or when no goods declaration is lodged.

On Sept. 1, assigned customs examiners Alfredo Regidor Jr. and Rochelle Arante conducted separate complete physical examination together with the representatives from Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service, Enforcement and Security Service, X-Ray Inspection Project, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Philippine Coast Guard, and Chamber of Customs Brokers Inc.-Cebu Chapter.

The first container yielded 851 master cases of “Mighty” cigarettes while the second contained 911 master cases of “Mighty”, “Fort”, and “Marvel” cigarettes.

Mendoza on Tuesday issued warrants of seizure and detention against the shipments for violation of Section 1113 (f), (i), and (l) of Republic Act No. 10863, or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

Last Aug. 19, the bureau also confiscated 1,092 master cases of “Astro” cigarettes with an estimated value of P54.6 million.

On Aug. 25, cases of smuggled cigarettes worth P92 million were also intercepted during a complete physical examination.

Based on the manifest, the container was supposed to be loaded with drawers, tables, cabinets, and lockers. (WBS from PR)


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