PHILIPPINE Navy, Philippine Coast Guard and Bureau of Customs personnel have seized some P7.2 million worth of assorted smuggled cigarettes off this city, a top Navy official said.

Rear Admiral Toribio Adaci Jr., commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM), said the joint team was on maritime interdiction operation when they intercepted a watercraft Wednesday dawn, April 28, in the seawaters off Recodo village, west of Zamboanga City.

Adaci said the watercraft, M/B Dream Boat, was found to be loaded with 205 master cases of assorted smuggled cigarettes when the team conducted Visit, Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) operations.

Adaci said the watercraft had 10 people aboard, including the crew, and its cargo came from the province of Sulu.

Of the eight people aboard, six of them are males and the remaining two are females.

Adaci said the watercraft and its cargo were escorted to Naval Station Romulo Espaldon, which houses the NFWM headquarters in Calarian, Zamboanga City, while the people aboard were taken to Camp Navarro General Hospital for medical check-up and were all declared to be in good condition.

He said that based on the inventory, the confiscated contraband and corresponding value are as follows: 58 master cases of Cannon cigarettes, P2,030,000; 107 master cases of Champion, P3,745,000; 18 master cases of New Far Gold, P630,000; and 22 master cases of New Far Green, P770,000, or for a total of P7,175,000.

Meanwhile, Adaci said the K9 unit of the Philippine drug Enforcement Agency conducted an inspection for the presence of prohibited drugs, which turned out negative.

The apprehended individuals and the confiscated items were turned over to the custody of BOC-Zamboanga District for proper disposition. (SunStar Zamboanga)