By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.
ZAMBOANGA CITY – Security forces have intercepted another shipment of smuggled cigarettes worth PHP590,000, bringing to more than PHP2.4 million the contrabands seized during the past two days in Region 9, authorities said Friday.
Brig. Gen. Franco Simborio, Police Regional Office-Zamboanga Peninsula (PRO-9) director, said the latest batch of assorted smuggled cigarettes shipment was seized on midnight Thursday in Barangay Buenavista, this city.
“Before the confiscation, troopers from the Army’s 74th Infantry Battalion’s Bravo Company were conducting a checkpoint in Barangay Curuan when a speeding vehicle passed by and did not stop,” he said.
The troops alerted their companions stationed at the detachment in Barangay Muti but the vehicle did not show up prompting the 74th IB troops to launch a search.
Simborio said the vehicle along with its cargo was later found abandoned in nearby Barangay Buenavista, which is located between Curuan and Muti.
The troops turned over the vehicle and the contraband to the Zamboanga City Police Office’s (ZCPO) Station 2, which in turn handed the seized commodities to the Bureau of Customs (BOC for proper disposition.
On Wednesday, a joint team of policemen and BOC personnel arrested four persons and seized some PHP1.8 million worth of smuggled cigarettes in Barangay White Beach, Pagadian City, the capital of Zamboanga del Sur.
Col. Diomarie Albarico, Zamboanga del Sur police director, identified the arrested suspects as Joseph Salem Hammaji, 29, driver; and truck helpers Guldam Wahid Ahaddi, 39; Alkaizer Karah Uddin, 35; and Fahad Juraid, 29.
Albarico said the joint team of policemen and BOC-Dipolog Satellite Office personnel was conducting a checkpoint when they flagged down a dropside cargo truck with suspicious cargo.
“Upon inspection, the truck was found loaded with 73 boxes of assorted smuggled cigarettes worth PHP1,825,000,” he said.
He said Hammaji and his three companions failed to present pertinent documents that led to their arrest and the seizure of the cargo truck.
All arrested suspects and their truck was turned over to the custody of the BOC for the filing of cases. (PNA)