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P15.7 million contraband cigarettes seized

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Smugglers and unscrupulous businessmen in the city never learn their lessons.



This, as joint elements of the local police here and the Bureau of Customs, seized an estimated P15.7 million contraband cigarettes in two separate operations, a top police official reported Friday.



Brig. Gen. Ronaldo Genaro Ylagan, Police Regional Office-9 (PRO-9) director told newsmen the first operation was conducted off the waters of Tumalutap Island in this city.



Ylagan said the first shipment was seized by the joint BOC and local police operatives around 3:30 a.m. in Tumalutap, one of the 11 islands east of Zamboanga.



Investigation disclosed that while the government police were conducting maritime patrol, they chanced upon two watercrafts called by the “locals” in the area as “jongjong”, a local watercraft usually made up of hardwood with name identified as F/B Afiyah Gladiator and F/B Five Sisters.



The reported watercraft Gladiator, driven by a certain Albasir Akarab, 33 and three other cohorts, were loaded with 152 cases of assorted smuggled cigarettes, which consists of 10 master cases of Premiex Red; 10 master cases of Premiex White; 60 master cases of Astro Red; 24 master cases of Cannon Menthol; 20 master cases of Fort Menthol; 20 master cases of Champion Menthol; and eight master cases of Champion Red.  



The police operatives later identified the crew as Albasir Sakib, 30; Idris Kadaffi Masarani, 42; and, and Sahaddi Lakibul, 42



The F/B Five Sisters on the other hand were also loaded with contraband cigarettes and slipped into the country via the backdoors off the islands of Zamboanga. Operatives also recovered 169 master cases of assorted smuggled cigarettes which consist of 27 master cases of Fort Menthol, 42 master cases of Astro Red, 79 master cases of Champion Menthol, and 21 Master cases of San Marino Black Menthol.



Skippered by Haydil Sarapuddin, 24, with a seven-man crew identified as Al-Shahid Bahang Adjad, 33; Amilussin Susulan, 22; Musa Julapli, 22; Alnibar Baladji, 20; Al Khalid Nurhasan Marrack, 36; and Zuercar Atibing, 30.

   

During interrogation by the police, the skippers and their team have failed to present documents and pertinent papers that could the legality of their shipments.



Meanwhile the second operation of the same law enforcers in coordination with the Bureau of Customs has also successfully netted around P4.5 million illegal cigarettes that have successfully slipped into the country



The watercraft and crewmen are now under the custody of the Bureau of Customs for proper disposition, investigation, and filing of appropriate charges in court. – PNA

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