SMUGGLED CIGARETTES. Police officers arrest three persons and seize some PHP3.8 million worth of smuggled cigarettes Sunday (July 3, 2022) in Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur. The smuggled cigarettes were believed to have come from Zamboanga City. (Photo courtesy of Area Police Command-Western Mindanao)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Three suspects were arrested while some PHP3.8 million worth of smuggled cigarettes were seized in an operation in Zamboanga del Sur’s town of Dumalinao, a police official said Monday.

Col. Richard Verceles, Area Police Command-Western Mindanao operations chief, said the contraband was intercepted around 3 a.m. Sunday in Barangay Camanga, Dumalinao.

Verceles said the police, in coordination with the Bureau of Customs (BOC), did a surprise checkpoint following information that a shipment of smuggled cigarettes was set to pass by the village road.

Law enforcers intercepted a drop-side cargo truck loaded with some 109 master cases of cigarettes believed to have come from the city.

The truck driver, Al Ibrahim, 35, and his two helpers, Nadz Ismael, 23, and Madzmur Sahipa, 19, failed to present pertinent documents of the cargo, Verceles said.

The confiscation was the first shipment of smuggled cigarettes authorities seized this month in the Zamboanga Peninsula. (PNA)