P1M worth of high-end ammunition smuggled into PH before Christmas
MANILA, Philippines – Days before Christmas, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) seized around P1 million worth of high-end ammunition and magazines smuggled into the Philippines through 6 balikbayan boxes.
Smugglers falsely declared these items as 390 packages of personal effects and household goods, and mixed these with 3 used shirts, 3 pieces of bottled water, and one bottle of hot sauce.
"These are the expensive, specialized types of ammunition. There is a demand for high-end ammunition in the country and it reaps big profit," said BOC intelligence officer Alvin Enciso, who supervises the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) at the Manila International Container Port.
The BOC intercepted the smuggled items after Jeoffrey Tacio, director of BOC CIIS, received a tip on December 6.
Enciso said the balikbayan boxes had been addressed to the residence of Lario Vecencio in Zambales, but because no one claimed these, the items were returned to the forwarder in Parañaque City. It was at the forwarder's warehouse that CIIS agents opened the box on December 19, and found the smuggled ammunition.
Vecencio had been arrested in September also for ammunition smuggled into the Philippines through balikbayan boxes, Enciso said. Vecencio faces charges before the justice department for allegedly violating the country's firearms and ammunition law.
Law enforcers continue to track down Arnel Velasco, to whom the shipment was consigned, and his suspected accomplices. – Rappler.com