ZAMBOANGA CITY - More than a thousand reams of cigarettes of different brands smuggled through fruit boxes were seized from a ship at the local port here Wednesday afternoon.
Operatives from the Bureau of Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service, the Philippine Coast Guard, Task Force Aduana, and other law enforcement units found the smuggled items inside boxes of mangosteen from Jolo, Sulu aboard M/V Asian Star 2.
The boxes were left unattended at the cargo deck of the vessel.
Initial reports said the confiscated cigarettes had a total market value of almost half a million pesos.
Customs Collector Segundo Sigmundfreud Barte Jr. said the seized items were brought to the Bureau of Customs for safekeeping while further investigation is still ongoing to identify the owner.