A top navy official stated on Friday that the Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) captured P29 million worth of illegal cigarettes off the waters of Simunul, Tawi-Tawi, earlier this week through the Naval Task Force-61.
The contraband was intercepted near the island settlement on the evening of August 23, according to NFWM commander Rear Adm. Toribio Adaci Jr.
According to Adaci, the contraband-transporting vessel, M/L Raheenia, was escorted and arrived at Naval Station Romulo Espaldon on Wednesday, where an inventory was undertaken in collaboration with the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and other organizations.
Adaci stated the Naval Task Force-61 personnel were on a maritime security patrol when they came across M/L Raheenia 15 nautical miles southeast of Manuk Mankaw, Simunul, backed by the 3rd Boat Attack Division and a littoral monitoring station.
When the military conducted Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure Operations, he said they discovered the vessel, which was manned by a seven-man crew, was filled with unauthorized cigarettes.
According to the results of the contraband inventory done with representatives from the BOC and the Coast Guard District Southwestern Mindanao, M/L Raheenia was loaded with 1,656 master cases of illicit cigarettes worth P29,980,000.
According to him, King Red cigarettes make up 1,093 of the 1,565 master cases, while King Green cigarettes make up the remaining 563.
The crew, vessel, and seized cargo were all turned over to the BOC for further action, he said.