AN estimated P2.7 million worth of smuggled cigarettes were confiscated by the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in separate entrapment operations in the country last week, PNP-CIDG Director Brigadier General Ronald O. Lee said on Monday.
The official told PNP Chief Gen. Rodolfo S. Azurin Jr. that the operations were part of their “Oplan: Megashoppper” aimed at arresting the smuggling, manufacture, distribution, and trading of counterfeit items and other goods in the country.
Lee said that one of the suspects was arrested by CIDG Region 9 operatives in Zamboanga del Sur while trying to transport an estimated P1.1 million of suspected smuggled San Marino cigarette products.
The PNP-CIDG men were assisted by the local police, the Army, and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in conducting the anti-smuggling operation amid a tip from a concerned citizen.
A companion of the captured suspect is still being hunted as of press time.
Lee said that a 2nd suspect was arrested after his vehicle was found to be loaded with around P1 million worth of smuggled cigarettes in the same province.
Prior to that, the suspect’s vehicle collided with another vehicle in Magsaysay municipality. During the investigation, his vehicle was found to be loaded with smuggled cigar products.\
Members of the CIDG Pangasinan PFU arrested two female suspects after they conspired to sell over P612,000 worth of smuggled cigarettes of different brands to an undercover officer.
The suspects are now facing charges for violation of Republic Act 10643 or The Graphic Health Warnings Law, RA 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, RA 8424 or the Tax Reform Act of 1997, and the Internal Revenue Code of the Philippines, the official said.\
Lee said he has instructed all his operating units to be on the continuous watch for all economic saboteurs who seek to undermine the institutions and social and economic structure of our country.
“Sa pagsusumikap ng ating pamahalaan para sa maganda at maginhawang buhay para sa lahat, may ilan pa rin na patuloy na sumisira at nagpapahina sa ating ekonomiya dahil sa mga ilegal nilang gawain,” he said.