Customs bureau seizes high-powered firearms

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JOINT operatives of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) have seized a cache of firearms stashed inside a balikbayan (returnee) box.

Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon on Thursday said the shipment came from the United States and was found to contain 10 high-powered guns.

“We have already identified the consignee. We have submitted his name to the PNP,” Faeldon added.

He refused to name the consignee.


The illegal shipment, Faeldon said, has been turned over to the PNP.

Faeldon warned smugglers not to toy with the law that gives leeway to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who regularly send imported goods inside balikbayan boxes to their families in the Philippines.

Republic Act 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act increases the “de minimis” value or the threshold value of taxable goods to P150,000 from P10,000.

This was not the first time that firearms were discovered inside a balikbayan box.

Years back, alert Customs operatives at the Manila International Container Port in North Harbor also seized high-powered firearms and ammunition neatly concealed inside a balikbayan box and declared as personal effects.

Among the weapons seized were a .45 caliber Springfield Armory pistol, a .45 caliber Browning Arms pistol, a .40 caliber Sig Sauer pistol, a caliber 223Ruger mini 14 rifle, several magazines and thousands of ammunition.

The shipment also came from the United States.

The shipper, however, was found out to be fictitious and the US address non-existent.

In April 2002, Customs agents at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport made the biggest catch of firearms, explosives and ammunition worth at least P35 million.

The cargo was packed in four balikbayan boxes and consigned to Trimark Venture Corp.

It contained 223 short handguns, high-powered state-of-the-art assault rifles, sub-machineguns, biological suits, armored vests, 1,600 pieces of magazines and bullets.

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