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3 locals selling ‘Astro’ illegal cigarettes caught in Zambo

April 30, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 414 views

ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR — Police authorities in Zamboanga del Sur seized on April 25 smuggled ‘Astro’ cigarettes worth close to a million pesos and arrested three suspects caught unloading the contraband ready for distribution in a barangay.

Agents from the PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Zamboanga del Sur field office, acting on a tip from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs (BOC) the three suspects were caught unloading the contraband cigarettes from their vehicle in Brgy Lantian, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur.

The operation, which was part of the PNP-CIDG’s Oplan Mega Shopper campaign against smuggling, yielded 25 master cases and 140 reams of white and red Astro brand illicit cigarettes, which are not registered with the BIR. The vehicle used in delivering the illegal cigarettes, a Susuki mini van, was also confiscated.

The arrested suspects are facing charges of violating Republic Act (RA) 8424 or the Tax Reform Act of 1997.

It was the second successful anti-smuggling operation involving illicit cigarettes in Mindanao in the span of one week.

Also last week, CIDG operatives in Cagayan de Oro arrested a local businessman selling illegal cigarettes, including the illicit Astro brand, in the city’s public market. The CIDG Cagayan de Oro field office said the seized illicit cigarettes have an estimated market value of close to P300,000.