SMUGGLED CIGARETTES. Police authorities, in coordination with the Bureau of Internal Revenue, arrest three persons and seized some PHP8.6 million worth of smuggled cigarettes in separate anti-smuggling operations in the provinces of Zamboanga del Sur and Sulu. The bulk of the contraband in Kumalarang, Zamboanga del Sur was seized Tuesday (Oct. 4, 2022). (Photo courtesy of the Area Police Command-Western Mindanao)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Authorities have arrested three suspects and seized some PHP8.6 million worth of contraband in separate anti-smuggling operations here in Western Mindanao, a police official said Wednesday.

Col. Richard Verceles, Area Police Command-Western Mindanao operations chief, said the bulk of the contraband was seized around 6 p.m. Tuesday in Barangay Boyugan West, Kumalarang, Zamboanga del Sur.

Verceles said suspects Shariff Adjinulla de Jesus, Adrian Adjinulla de Jesus, and Lauro Ocampo Gonzales were arrested when police, in coordination with the Bureau of Internal Revenue, intercepted a delivery van at a checkpoint loaded with 215 master cases of trafficked cigarettes worth PHP8,170,000.

He said Shariff, the van driver, and his two truckmen admitted that the contraband came from this city and was bound for Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur.

The suspects and confiscated items were brought to Kumalarang municipal police station for inventory before their turnover to the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

Meanwhile, police officers also seized some 47 master cases of smuggled cigarettes worth PHP517,000 around 6:54 p.m. Tuesday in Barangay Kajatian, Indanan, Sulu.

Verceles said no one was arrested, as the supposed owner abandoned the contraband upon sensing the arrival of authorities.

The confiscated cigarettes were brought to the office of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Provincial Field Unit before its handing over to the BOC. (PNA)