P1.5-B smuggled goods, luxury items from China busted in Valenzuela depot

A team composed of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) personnel seized an estimated P1.5 billion worth of various smuggled goods, fake luxury items, and cigarette-manufacturing materials from a warehouse located in Valenzuela City, authorities revealed Friday, July 15.

Bureau of Customs (BOC) agents conduct an inspection of a warehouse in Valenzuela City filled with smuggled goods and fake luxury items from China worth P1.5 billion on July 13, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Bureau of Customs)

The joint team served a Letter of Authority (LOA) and Mission Order (MO) issued by Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero on Wednesday, July 13, 2022, to the representatives of C Teknik Development Corporation located at 143 C.P. Gregorio St., Lingunan, Valenzuela City to inspect the warehouse.

The estimated P1.5-billion worth of smuggled goods from China are composed of the following: imported construction materials, housewares, kitchenware, household appliances, and consumer electronics lighting products.

Fake luxury items from designer brands such as Christian Dior, Gucci, Michael Kors, Coach, Guess, Nike, Adidas, Hello Kitty, and Jordan, were also found inside the premises.

The inspection of the warehouse also yielded beauty and hygiene products such as soaps from Cetaphil, Safeguard, Nivea, Johnson & Johnson, and others.

Aside from the imported Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) infringing goods of luxury brand names, the composite team of BOC, through the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) of the Manila International Container Port (MICP), and AFP found a hidden storage facility of raw materials of cigarettes, such as tobacco filler and filter rod.

“We almost missed that (storage facility) because it was hidden behind layers of bubble wrap and boxes. We needed to remove those first during the inspection to see the storage area,” CIIS-MICP chief Alvin Enciso said.

Guerrero thanked the BOC-AFP team for bringing to justice the operators of these illegal businesses, highlighting the need now more than ever to protect the market.

According to Enciso, the team temporarily placed padlocks and seals on the entrance and exit gates of the warehouse.

Inventory was completed by the assigned customs examiners on Thursday, July 14, while CIIS and representatives of the warehouse stood as witnesses.

The Department of Trade and Industry-Bureau of Product Standard (DTI-BPS) has already sent inspectors in close coordination with the BOC while the subject goods are regulated by the agency.

A Warrant of Seizure and Detention will be issued against the subject goods for violation of RA 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, in relation to Section 117 (Regulated Goods), Section 118 (Prohibited Goods), and Section 1113 (Property Subject to Seizure and Forfeiture) of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).

Those responsible for smuggling the items found in the warehouse will likewise face appropriate legal charges, according to BOC.