ZAMBOANGA CITY – Two suspects were arrested while an estimated PHP2.3 million worth of smuggled cigarettes were seized by authorities in an anti-smuggling operation here, an official said Tuesday.

Col. Alexander Lorenzo, city police director, said Aljhan Garabi, 20, and Radzmir Habibon, 22, were arrested in Barangay Santa Catalina at about 9:15 p.m. Monday.

Lorenzo said personnel of the police’s Regional Mobile Force Battalion 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula) were manning a checkpoint when they intercepted the van driven by Garabi.

Upon inspection, he said, the van was found to be loaded with 67 master cases of trafficked cigarettes, consisting of 37 Delta and 30 Cannon brands.

Lorenzo said the suspects failed to present documents of the cigarettes they were transporting, prompting the police to arrest them and seize their truck.

This month alone, authorities have confiscated PHP68.1 million worth of smuggled cigarettes in six separate anti-smuggling operations in this city.

The biggest haul was on November 25 with Navy personnel seizing PHP52.8 million worth of trafficked cigarettes in the waters of coastal Barangay Labuan here. (PNA)