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BOC Zamboanga destroys P2.2M worth of smuggled cigarettes

The Bureau of Customs-Port of Zamboanga has destroyed P2.2 million worth of smuggled cigarettes, as part of the agency’s drive to combat smuggling.

In a statement on Friday, the BOC said the Port of Zamboanga destroyed 45 boxes of smuggled cigarettes last August 14.

Customs agents had seized the condemned goods in a joint  operation headed by Zamboanga District Collector Sigundo Sigmundfreud Barte, in coordination with the BOC Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS), the Enforcement and Security Service (ESS), and various enforcement agencies, the BOC said.

“This is part of the Bureau’s drive to crackdown counterfeit and smuggled cigarettes,” it said.

Information reaching BOC about an undetermined volume of smuggled cigarettes of different brands prompted the operation aboard MV Maria Erlinda of the Montenegro Shipping Lines, Inc., a passenger vessel that has just arrived in Jolo, Sulu.

Barte encouraged civilians to report smuggling operations in order to help intensify BOC's anti-smuggling campaign.

The seizure was the second this month, the Customs said.

Last August 5, 2019 a similar confiscation involving more than 2,000 reams of smuggled cigarettes was undertaken by BOC operatives aboard MB Aljin.

The BOC said it has remained consistent in its efforts to rid the country of fake and smuggled goods in order to protect our local and legitimate businesses as well as to protect the public from the health risks that these illegal goods may cause. —Jon Ted Cordero/LBG, GMA News