SMUGGLED CIGARETTES. Police and Bureau of Customs (BOC) personnel inspect the smuggled cigarettes they seized near Manalilpa Island, Zamboanga City on Thursday night (July 28, 2022). The police-BOC team was on sea patrol when they spotted a motorboat loaded with smuggled cigarettes valued at PHP2.4 million. (Photo courtesy of Area Police Command-Western Mindanao)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Authorities have arrested three persons and seized PHP2.4 million worth of smuggled cigarettes in this city, a police official said Friday.

Col. Richard Verceles, operations chief of the Area Police Command-Western Mindanao, said Ladimar Abdul Bauddin, 33, Asari Ebbah, 23, and Abdul Naser Hamjadi, 23, were arrested near Manlipa Island off this city at about 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Verceles said a joint team of police and Bureau of Customs personnel were on sea patrol when they spotted a motorboat manned by the three suspects.

Upon inspection, the motorboat was found loaded with 68 master and 49 reams of undocumented cigarettes valued at PHP2.4 million, he said, adding that the smuggled cigarettes came from Jolo, Sulu and were en route to Ipil, the capital town of Zamboanga Sibugay.

The suspects, motorboat, and smuggled cigarettes were turned over to the BOC for proper disposition.

Thursday's confiscation here came two days after police and BOC personnel also arrested four persons and seized PHP420,000 worth of smuggled cigarettes in Zamboanga del Sur.

The police-BOC team was conducting a mobile checkpoint when they intercepted a pick-up truck loaded with smuggled cigarettes in Barangay Poblacion, Margosatubig, Zamboanga del Sur at about 11:45 p.m. on Tuesday. (PNA)