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Saturday, July 9, 2022

Police intercept two boats loaded with contraband

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Police and Customs officers intercepted two motorboats loaded with some P8.9 million worth of smuggled cigarettes off a coastal village in Zamboanga City, officials said Saturday.

Officials said nine boatmen, mostly from the southern province of Sulu, were also arrested on smuggling charges after failing to present legal documents for hundreds of boxes of assorted cigarette brands.

 

The two boats had markings “Ayyeen” and “Zafreen Oasla” and were intercepted at dawn Friday by patrolling members of the Zamboanga City Mobile Force Company and the Bureau of Customs, said Maj. Shellamie Chang, a regional police spokesperson.

 

Police identified the boatmen as Alsid Dalisan, 36; Faizal Sangkula, 39; Abduridjan Anni, 40; Gaspar Susulan, 33; Almijir Salapuddin, 35; Bennajir Mikael, 33; Nilson Hapas, 47; Almujeb Abdulgari, 28, all natives of Sulu; and Abdulhamik Mikael, 34; of Zamboanga City.

 

The identities of the smugglers or their financiers were not made public, but the contraband was turned over to the Bureau of Customs.

 

On Wednesday, police also confiscated some P6.7 million worth of smuggled cigarettes and arrested a 46-year old truck driver Edgar Estrada following a dramatic chase in the village of San Roque here.

 

Police had to use a helicopter which guided ground forces in pursuing the getaway truck full of boxes of New Orleans cigarettes as it snaked through the village while trying to evade security forces. The truck was eventually cornered, but two of the driver’s helpers evaded.

 

The seized cigarettes were turned over to the Customs office. Cigarette smuggling is rampant in Zamboanga and the contraband is widely available in the market because of its cheap prices. Aside from cigarettes, petroleum products from neighboring Malaysia are also being smuggled by boats through the southern back door. (Mindanao Examiner)