Government agents intercepted a smuggled shipment of cigarettes worth P30 million from China.
The Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service seized the shipment on Feb. 9 after learning the importer misdeclared it as personal effects, a clear case of technical smuggling.
“The contraband was consigned to a certain MBS Cargo Movers and was originally declared as personal effects,” the BOC chief said in a statement.
Acting on derogatory information, the authorities initially placed the shipment under alert.
Examination of the shipment revealed that it actually contained 820 master cases of Astro brand cigarettes placed inside “Myanmar” marked sacks.
Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero immediately ordered the CIIS team assigned at Manila North Harbor to conduct an investigation for the filing of criminal charges against MBS Cargo Movers, the shipment consignee.
He said the importer violated Section 1400 of Republic Act 10863 also known as the Customs Modernization and Tarrif Act.
A few days before this seizure, the CIIS team conducted a raid in Paco, Manila where they discovered P15 million worth of smuggled Chinese cigarettes.
The raid was conducted based on the letter of authority from Commisioner Guerrero.
“The cigarettes lacked the necessary permit from the National Tobacco Administration, a clear violation of Executive Order 245,” said Guerrero.
Aside from cigarettes, the authorities also found at the warehouse mobile phone accessories, medicines, food items and liquors.
The Customs chief said they will continue to protect consumers and the nation by ensuring, through intensified vigilance and border protection, that only products certified by regulatory agencies with necessary permits are released in all ports of entry.
“Examination of the shipment revealed that it actually contained 820 master cases of Astro brand cigarettes and was estimated to have a street value of P 30 Million,” he added.
The bureau will file smuggling charges against persons involved in the foiled smuggling try for violation of Section 1400 of RA 10863 also known as the Customs Modernization and Tarrif Act (CMTA).
Guerrero said that the agency will remain vigilant in protecting the country’s borders from the entry of smuggled goods and the collection of lawful revenues.