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P3.72b in smuggled vapes seized in 2 cities

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Operatives from the Bureau of Customs (BOC) seized at least P3.72 billion worth of smuggled vapes during a raid on several warehouses in Malabon and Parañaque cities.

Among the recovered contraband include 1.5 million pieces of disposable vapes with the brand name Flava and 1.98 million vapes in separate warehouses from the aforesaid cities.

In Parañaque, around 15,000 boxes of vapes were found in a certain Olivares compound, containing 100 pieces per box, Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) director Verne Enciso said.

He said the current market value of vape is P500 per piece, and that would total to P750 million, “add to that the excise tax that should be collected, and the total estimated sum up value would be P1.53 billion.”

Enciso said these e-cigarettes were only discovered in one of the warehouses in Parañaque City and that other warehouses are still being examined.

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In Malabon, the BOC found a warehouse storing nearly 19,800 boxes each containing 100 pieces of smuggled vapes or a total of 1.98 million pieces.

With the price marked at P550 for each e-cigarette, the total market value would be at P1.089 billion, while the excise tax would amount to P1,029,600,000, the Customs said.

This would translate to a total worth of P2,118,600,000 for smuggled vape products in Malabon alone.

“We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to bring (the) smugglers to justice,” BOC chief Bienvenido Rubio said.

The BOC also reaffirmed its commitment to combating illegal drug trafficking after successfully intercepting a shipment containing over P76 million worth of high-grade dried marijuana or “kush” at the Manila International Container Port (MICP).

“Over the past year, the BOC has consistently demonstrated dedication in thwarting the infiltration of controlled substances across our borders,” BOC Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio said.

“The commendable success of this operation sends a resounding message that we will not be stopped in our fight to protect the nation from the dangers of illegal drugs,” he added.

The BOC, through the Manila International Container Port (MICP), and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), intercepted a shipmentfrom Thailand containing dried marijuana or kush with an estimated value of P76 million found inside five balikbayan boxes, consisting of two smaller boxes.

The CIIS of the MICP received derogatory information pertaining to a certain shipment that allegedly contained illegal drugs and misdeclared or under-declared items.

Following the report received, MICP District Collector Romeo Rosales immediately issued an alert order against the reported shipment.

The subject shipment underwent a 100 percent physical examination on Feb. 27, revealing approximately 63,360 grams of dried marijuana or kush that has a standard drug price of P1,200 per gram, according to the PDEA.

An ongoing investigation is still in progress to determine if there i still a presence of illicit substances and other prohibited items concealed inside other balikbayan boxes.

Editor’s Note: This is an updated article. Originally posted with the headline “Customs seize billions worth of smuggled vapes.”

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