JOINT policemen and Bureau of Customs (BOC) personnel have seized anew more than P2 million worth of smuggled cigarettes and arrested three people east off Zamboanga City, the police reported Friday, November 26.

Police Colonel Rexmel Reyes, Zamboanga City Polilce Office (ZCPO) director, said the smuggled cigarettes were seized around 1:40 p.m. Thursday, November 25, near Tumalutab, an island village east of Zamboanga City.

Reyes said the personnel of the 2nd City Mobile Force "Seaborne" Company and BOC operatives were conducting seaborne patrol when they intercepted a motorboat loaded with 65 master cases of undocumented assorted cigarettes with an estimated market value of P2,275,000.

The three arrested crewmen were identified as Tahang Abubakar, 39; Isran Sakib, 20; and Alnijar Mauddin, 36.

Reyes said investigation showed the smuggled cigarettes came from Sulu and were bound for Pagadian City, the capital of Zamboanga del Sur.

He added that the K-9 unit of the Philippines Drug Enforcement Agency inspected the confiscated cigarettes for possible presence of illegal drugs.

The confiscated contraband, motorboat, and its crewmen were turned over to the BOC for proper disposition.

The confiscation Thursday, November 25, by the joint police and BOC operatives was the fourth time the authorities seized shipment of smuggled cigarettes this month in the city.

The first was P1.6 million worth of smuggled cigarettes seized on November 2 near Tumalutab, Zamboanga City. The shipment came from Jolo, Sulu and was bound for Zamboanga Sibugay province.

The second shipment consisted of some P2.7 million worth of smuggled cigarettes on November 3 also near Tumalutab. The shipment was bound for Olutanga, Zamboanga Sibugay, coming from Jolo, Sulu.

The third was on November 19 wherein some P12.4 million were seized from a warehouse in Divisoria village, Zamboanga City. (SunStar Zamboanga)