CIGARETTES SHIPMENT. A police officer and a Bureau of Customs personnel conduct inventory on the smuggled cigarettes seized Tuesday (June 21, 2022) near Manalipa Island, Zamboanga City. The joint police and BOC operatives were on maritime patrol when they intercepted a motorboat loaded with some P9.6 million worth of smuggled cigarettes. (Photo courtesy of Area Police Command-Western Mindanao)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – A team of police and Bureau of Customs (BOC) operatives arrested 10 people and seized some PHP9.6 million worth of smuggled cigarettes near an island barangay east of this city, an official said Wednesday.

Col. Richard Verceles, operations chief of the Area Police Command-Western Mindanao, said the suspects were arrested around 8:20 p.m. Tuesday in the vicinity of Manalipa Island here.

Verceles identified them as Edzar Aharaji, 38; Jacob Alvarez, 46; Aldimar Daniel, 42; Rasdi Altalad, 29; Juning Ibrahim, 52; Samoudi Jamlul, 20; Hussam Najir, 42; Aluomar Asari, 22; Almakrin Ayub, 22; and Alnisar Jul, 21.

Police and BOC operatives were conducting maritime patrol when they chanced upon a motorboat marked “F/B Jamaica" traveling towards the direction of Zamboanga Sibugay province, the police official said.

Upon inspection, the motorboat was found to be loaded with 275 master cases and 32 rims of undocumented Fort brand cigarettes. The contraband came from Jolo, Sulu, and bound for Pagadian City in Zamboanga del Sur.

Tuesday night's seizure of smuggled items came three days after police and BOC operatives arrested a couple and seized some PHP2.1 million worth of cigarettes in an anti-smuggling operation here. (PNA)