ZAMBOANGA CITY – Authorities have arrested 14 people and seized a shipment of some PHP2.5 million worth of smuggled cigarettes in an anti-smuggling operation off this city, an official said Wednesday.
Col. Richard Verceles, operations chief of the Area Police Command-Western Mindanao, said the cargo was seized around 5 a.m. Wednesday in the waters near R.T. Lim Boulevard here.
Verceles said personnel of the 2nd Zamboanga City Mobile Force “Seaborne” Company and Bureau of Customs (BOC) were conducting sea patrol when they intercepted a motorboat marked “MB Mernalyn” with 14 people aboard and loaded with smuggled cigarettes.
Those arrested, all residents of Jolo, Sulu, were identified as Mawudan Lawana, skipper, 34; Narimuddin Hasid, 20; Midzfar Alibasa, 38; Omra Daniyel, 51; Musa Jama, 37; Albasari Jailani, 28; Alnajal Mubin, 22; Jobel Mara, 35; Al Danial, 42; Rahsi Ari, 50; Almojib Upi, 23; Sikal Sali, 47; Munil Mujakil, 55; and Abduka Tungkil, 62.
No one from among those arrested was able to present documents of their cargo comprising 49 master cases of Astro and 23 master cases of Cannon menthol cigarettes, Verceles said.
He said the smuggled cigarettes came from Jolo and bound for this city via a wharf in Barangay Baliwasan.
The contraband, motorboat, and 14 suspects are now under the custody of BOC for proper disposition. (PNA)