SEIZED. CIDG members seize PHP32 million worth of smuggled cigarettes and arrested four suspects in an operation at a warehouse in Balagtas, Bulacan on Sunday (Oct. 3, 2021). An investigation is underway to identifiy and locate the supplier of the seized goods. (Photo courtesy of CIDG)

MANILA – Members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) seized some PHP32 million worth of smuggled cigarettes and arrested four persons, including two Chinese nationals in a buy-bust operation in Bulacan, a top police official said Monday.

In a statement, CIDG chief Maj. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro said the suspects Zeng Qiangjian, 42, Lin Shanxiong, 48, both Chinese nationals; John Bejay Agujar, 25, and Rodolfo Brosas, 45, were arrested during the operation with local police together with representatives of PMFTC Incorporated and JTI Incorporated at a warehouse located at Zone 6, Bypass Road, Barangay Borol 2nd, Balagtas, Bulacan on Sunday.

CIDG operatives confiscated 711 cartons or 35,550 reams of assorted cigarette products that have a total estimated market value of PHP32,305,000.

Ferro said under the operation known as "Oplan Hithit-Buga", CIDG members were able to transact with one of the suspects for the purchase of smuggled cigarettes worth PHP1 million.

Also seized from the suspects were an Isuzu Elf Truck with plate no. CBJ 6630 and 1,000 pieces of PHP1,000 bills as buy-bust money.

Ferro said the suspects will be subjected to inquest proceedings for charges of Violation of Article 189 of the Revised Penal Code (Unfair Competition, Fraudulent Registration of Trademark, Tradename or Service Mark, Fraudulent designation of Origin and False Description); Republic Act 7394 (Consumer Act of the Philippines); RA 8293 (Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines); and RA 1937 (An Act to Revise and Codify the Tariff and Custom Law of the Philippines) before the Bulacan Provincial Prosecutors Office.

Meanwhile, Ferro said further investigation is being conducted by the detectives of CIDG Central Luzon to identify and locate the supplier of the seized goods. (PNA)