Customs seizes smuggled cigarettes worth ₱19-M

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 27) – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) said Monday it recently seized 24,950 reams of smuggled cigarettes in Davao del Sur worth ₱19 million.

According to the BOC Water Patrol Division, motorized boat "MV Amiesha" and its cargo covered with tarpaulin were sighted along the territorial waters of Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur.

Upon inspection, the bureau said crew members failed to present legal documents for the cigarettes, prompting authorities to confiscate the cargo. It was not immediately clear when the cigarettes were seized.

The confiscated cigarettes in 499 cases violated Section 117 of Republic Act 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act of 2016, the BOC said.

The bureau said Port of Davao District Collector Erastus Sandino Austria already issued a Warrant of Seizure and Detention against the contraband.

In September 2022, two lawmakers filed House BIll No. 3917, which seeks to classify cigarette smuggling as economic sabotage and a non-bailable offense punishable with jail time of 30 to 40 years.

Under the bill, violators will be required to settle a fine double the value of the smuggled items plus the total amount of unpaid duties and other taxes.

READ: House bill seeks heavier penalties for cigarette smuggling