By Betheena Kae Unite
Several trucks parked in a village in Caloocan City turned out to be concealing boxes of counterfeit and smuggled cigarettes that would cost over P58 million if sold, the Bureau of Customs said Wednesday.
A total of 1,670 master cases of cigarettes believed to be counterfeit and smuggled into the country were uncovered inside nine trucks parked in Barangay 168, Caloocan City, on Monday. The intercepted fake and smuggled products have an estimated value of P58.4 million.
The illegal products bore brands such as Marvels, Fortune, D&B, Mighty, and Jackpot cigarettes. “The said brands are believed to have a big market share in provinces where they are usually sold to unsuspecting patrons,” the bureau said.
Armed with a letter of authority and mission order signed by Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, Customs personnel together with the Philippine Coast Guard, local police, and members of Barangay168 launched the raid that uncovered the millions worth of fake and smuggled goods.
Further investigation is underway to determine the individuals behind the illegal operation, the Customs bureau said.
The discovery of the items came after a warehouse allegedly used to manufacture counterfeit cigarettes and manned by around 20 Chinese nationals and a hundred Filipino workers in Nueva Ecija was uncovered.
An undetermined quantity of counterfeit cigarettes of various brands such as Two Moon Blue, Two Moon Menthol, and Marvels estimated to have a value of P1 billion were seized in the operation.
Several boxes of fake BIR stamps, cigarette making machines, packing machines, a filter-making machine, mixer, dryer, and raw materials believed to be used in making counterfeit cigarettes were also found inside the warehouse.
In 2019, Guerrero said the bureau seized a total of P2.67 billion cigarettes and tobacco products in 79 apprehensions.