SMUGGLED. A K9 unit of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency inspects the confiscated smuggled cigarettes to ensure no illegal drugs are mixed with the confiscated contrabands. A team of Navy and Bureau of Customs personnel seized the assorted smuggled cigarettes worth some PHP10.7 million while conducting maritime patrol at dawn Thursday (April 15, 2021) at vicinity seawaters off Barangay Sinunuc, Zamboanga City. (Photo courtesy of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao Public Affairs Office)/ctto.

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Operatives of the Philippine Navy and Bureau of Customs (BOC) seized a shipment of some PHP10.7 million worth of smuggled cigarettes off this city, a Navy official said Friday.

Rear Adm. Toribio Adaci Jr., Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) chief, said the shipment was intercepted at dawn Thursday at vicinity seawaters off Barangay Sinunuc.

Adaci said the joint Naval Task Force 61, consisting of Navy Seals and intelligence operatives and BOC personnel, were conducting maritime interdiction operations when they intercepted M/B Princess Amina manned by a seven-man crew.

The vessel was loaded with some 300 master cases of assorted undocumented cigarettes with a market value of more or less PHP10,685,000 when the joint Navy and BOC team conducted Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) operation, he said.

Adaci said the vessel was escorted to Naval Station Romulo Espaldon for inspection and inventory.

He said they also coordinated with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to assist them in inspecting the confiscated smuggled cigarettes.

“There was no presence of any prohibited drugs or contrabands other than the undocumented cigarettes on board the apprehended vessel,” he said, adding that the confiscated items were turned over to the custody of BOC-Zamboanga District. (PNA)