ORMOC CITY-Personnel of the Philippine Coast Guard recovered 700 reams of undocumented cigarettes while conducting random inspection of a closed van heading to Luzon around 1:30 pm on Tuesday (Feb.20) at the Santa Clara Port in Allen town, Northern Samar.

The cigarettes were found loaded in a closed aluminum van, a six-wheeler Elf, driven by Argie Labrador, 27, from Pasig City, with helper Baltazar Noceto, 29, from Santa Elena, Daet, Camarines Norte, bearing plate number AKA-9661.

According to Lieutenant Junior Grade Byan Michael Tuyay’s of the Coast Guard, personnel from their station were conducting random inspections of vehicles bound for Luzon.

When they requested the driver of the closed van to open the back door, they discovered several large packs (cartons). Upon inspecting one of the packs, they were astonished to find reams of cigarettes inside.

Tuyay further stated that Coast Guard personnel conducting the inspection immediately requested the driver to provide the necessary permits and legal documents for the cargo, but none were produced, prompting them to seize and conduct an inventory of the intercepted items.

The seized cigarettes comprised 400 reams of Black Hawk Platinum Cigarettes, 200 reams of Platinum Cigarettes, and 100 reams of Canon Menthol Cigarettes, originating from Zamboanga City and destined for Oas, Albay. The estimated value of the cigarettes is P1.2 million.

The local Coast Guard has coordinated with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Region 8 for the necessary documentation, proper inventory, and handling of the seized items. (ROBERT DEJON)