THREE container vans of contraband Mighty cigarette brand were seized by Bureau of Customs (BoC) intelligence operatives in separate operations in the cities of Cebu and Tacloban in the Visayas region.
Customs Intelligence and Investigatio Director Anthony Neil Estrella on Wednesday disclosed that the cigarette shipments were intercepted on reports that they bear fake tax stamps.
The first two containers were unloaded on Sunday from MV Don Alberto Sr., which docked at the Port of Cebu from Manila via Tacloban City, Leyte province.
Another shipment was seized on Tuesday in Tacloban with Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon supervising the operation.
Estrella inspected two containers and opened one box at the yard of Gothong Lines at Pier No. 4 in the Port of Cebu.
Present during the BOC’s initial examination were representatives from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)and the consignee, Rolando Pocong, shipping lines, the Philippine Coast Guard and members of the media.
Estrella said the boxes were believed to be part of several shipments of Mighty cigarettes bearing fake tax stamps.
Last week, the BOC and the BIR confiscated 11,044 master cases of Mighty cigarettes worth P215 million in General Santos City and 62,200 master cases valued at P1.98 billion in San Simon, Pampanga.
“The bureau has been receiving reports that some of the products that were not seized in Pampanga were sent to different warehouses in the country,” Estrella said.
The identity of the consignee and the market value of the Cebu shipment are yet to be determined.
The seized cargo will be turned over to the BIR-Cebu.