Smugglers thought they could get through the Philippine border in Bataan after successfully transferring contraband rice and cigarettes from a “mother ship” to a smaller vessel while transiting Orion waters. They were wrong.
A team composed of agents from the Bureau of Customs (BOC), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and police caught around 50 workers red-handed while they were trying to unload sacks of rice and boxes of cigarettes from a vessel marked “LCT Yellow River” to various trucks at the Orion Dockyard.
The release and distribution of the smuggled shipment was prevented after several trucks were stopped at various checkpoints, the BOC said.
Customs agents said the shipment, which contained cigarettes branded “Mighty” and “Two Moon” and Premium Vietnam Rice, were unloaded from a mother ship coming from Vietnam. It was then loaded aboard LCT Yellow River before being transferred to trucks.
The shipment, estimated to be worth P260 million, was consigned to Asia Pacific Rice Trading Corporation.
According to the bureau, the rice shipment is covered by a fake Statement of Settlement of Duties and Taxes (SSDT) for the rice. On the other hand, the cigarettes did not have tax seals.
The crew from LCT Yellow River and the various trucks are now subjected to inquest proceedings for violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) and other laws.
“Follow-up operations and investigations are ongoing on the supposed delivery addresses of the seized items,” the bureau said. (with reports from Ariel Fernandez)