The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Monday seized some P265.5 million worth of counterfeit tobacco products and other cigarette-making paraphernalia and arrested four Chinese nationals in a joint buy-bust operation along Tanza-Trece Martires Road, Cavite.
In a statement, the BOC said the June 28 operation was led by the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service-Manila International Container Port (CIIS-MICP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Armed with a letter of authority and a mission order issued by Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, the team raided a warehouse in Barangay De Ocampo.
The authorities found raw materials for cigarettes such as tobacco filler, filter paper and paper rod with an estimated value of P105 million.
Also found were one filter maker, two cigarette makers, and six packing machines worth P75 million; four boxes of tax stamps worth P18 million each for a total of P72 million; and 81 master cases of Marvel cigarettes worth P50,000 each for a total of P4.05 million.
Finished cigarette products such as Marvels, Two Moon, Mighty, and others were also discovered in the warehouse.
Assigned Customs examiners, in the presence of members of the CIIS, Enforcement and Security Service (ESS), barangay officials, and representatives of the warehouse, had begun a complete inventory of the warehouse.
Once done with the complete inventory of the regulated goods, Ramiro and CIIS Director Jeoffrey Tacio are set to recommend the issuance of a Warrant of Seizure and Detention (WSD), as well as the filing of appropriate and related charges against the warehouse operator.
“We’ve always worked on the assumption that today is our last day or our last chance to curb smuggling. I am proud of our Customs agents for going above and beyond their call of duty to protect our borders and improve our anti-smuggling initiatives,” Guerrero said in a statement.
“The smear campaign against us will not deter us from doing our work. The goal remains the same, and that’s to pursue criminals who make a mockery of our laws,” he added.
The operation was also in coordination with the National Bureau of Investigation Special Action Unit (NBI SAU).