THE Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Northern Mindanao foiled early morning Friday an attempt to sneak in barrels of oil by still unidentified individuals off the shoreline in Barangay Casinglot, Tagoloan town, Misamis Oriental.

Police Superintendent Cholijun P. Caduyac, CIDG-Northern Mindanao deputy regional director, said the men on board a motorized vessel were unloading drums of crude and corn oil to the shoreline when authorities spotted them.

Upon sensing the law enforcers, a crew on board the motorized vessel sped off and left the area.

“Gusto unta nako to pabuthan pero nakahunahuna ko basin ug dunay madamay ug basin mabungkag na hinuon ang barko kay flammable baya ang ilang karga (I wanted to fire a warning shot but I was having second thoughts. The boat might explode due to its highly flammable cargo. Innocents might get hit),” Caduyac told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.

He said the crew failed to drop all of the smuggled goods when they left, but they abandoned five drums of crude oil of about 1,000 liters, six drums of suspected corn oil equivalent to 1,200 liters, seven empty drums, and 47 empty plastic gallons.

Caduyac said they received information two weeks ago that Casinglot is a landing area for smuggled fuel.

The confiscated smuggled items will be subjected to examination before they will be presented to the court as evidence for pressing charges against still unknown suspected smugglers, Caduyac said.

Charges would include in violation of the trade and environmental laws and smuggling, he added.

Caduyac expressed dismay over the failure of the operatives to arrest the smugglers, but vowed to thoroughly investigate the case for the arrest of “a big-time smuggler.”

“Pinoy rani… big time. Pero we will establish all his contacts aron madakpan gyud nato (This is just a Filipino… big time. But we will establish all his contacts so we can arrest him),” he said.

CIDG teams from Misamis Oriental, together with Cagayan de Oro and Regional Special Action Tracker Team (RSATT), conducted the joint operation to arrest the alleged smuggling activity in Tagoloan town. Caduyac led the operation.

Caduyac said they transported the confiscated smuggled items to its regional office in Camp Alagar in Barangay Lapasan here.

The team also brought with them the laborers who helped in bringing the drums to the shore after these were dropped from the vessel.

But Caduyac said charges could not be filed against the laborers since they did not have direct participation in the alleged smuggling operation.

“But we would subject them to investigation,” he said.

He said the laborers earned P100 for each drum that they could bring to the shore.

Caduyac said each drum of corn oil contains close to 100 kilos that can be sold for P60 a kilo.

“Mao diay daghan nag-reklamo kon ngano barato ang kilo sa mais, sila (smugglers) man diay ang hinungdan (This is probably the reason why many people are complaining of the lower price of corn. These smugglers are the culprit),” he said.

Caduyac said based on his information, the still unidentified smuggler has been operating for about a year.

He said the perpetrator is expected to relocate his smuggling operation after the incident in Barangay Casinglot. (Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro/Sunnex)