Operatives from the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) seize 40 kilograms of high-grade methamphetamine hydrochloride, commonly known as ‘shabu’ sent from Hong Kong. The seized ‘shabu’ has a street value of at least P400-Million. The consignee of the illegal cargo, identified as Danilo Pineda, was arrested by authorities today (Monday, January 5).
The illegal drug was hidden inside a water pump that was sent through air cargo from Hong Kong last December 28, 2014. The ‘shabu’ was discovered following derogatory information received by the Customs’ Anti-Illegal Drug Task Force. Pineda was arrested after claiming the cargo. The illegal drug haul was turned-over to PDEA.
Last week, the Bureau seized 660kg of counterfeit medicines worth millions of pesos. The shipment, totaling 17 pallets, arrived in the Philippines from Bangkok, Thailand. In 2014, the Bureau has seized an estimated P1-Billion worth of various illegal, fake or controlled drugs and substances, including ‘shabu’, marijuana, ‘Ecstasy’, Valium, Ativan, Dormicum, Rivotril, Alprazolam, Ritalin, and other unlabeled tablets.
The Bureau has implemented more stringent control measures for examining air cargo and mailed parcels following the discovery of various illegal substances concealed in items like shoes, denim pants, slippers, books, billiard cue stick and even stuffed toys. Authorities identify contraband items in the parcels upon inspection using X-Ray scanning machines and rigid physical inspection.
Complaints of violating Sections 3601 and 3602 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines were filed against Zenaida Valencia, Jennifer Valencia, Edward Ochave, Clarisse Karingal, Genevieve Ochave and Edmund Discutido before the Justice Department. The case stemmed from the entry of six Balikbayan Boxes from Bahrain last August. These were shipped on the same flight and on the same day through Forex U-Mac Bahrain and its counterpart, U-Mac Forex Cargo Philippines. The boxes were declared to contain personal effects such as shoes and clothing, beddings, groceries, candies and chocolates. However, derogatory information from the Bureau’s Intelligence Group prompted the 100% physical inspection of the boxes, revealing the watches inside. The misdeclaration was intended to evade payment of duties and taxes amounting to over P1-Million.
“While we recognize that the Balikbayan Box is vital to millions of overseas Filipinos and their families in the Philippines, we cannot allow the abuse and misuse of this privilege to bring in goods of commercial quantity or contraband items. Let this be a lesson to traders and sellers that by illegally concealing items meant for sale or prohibited items, you are not only taking risk by getting caught but you also delay other Balikbayan Boxes that are in the same batch,” said Customs Commissioner John P. Sevilla.
Since 2001, the Bureau has continually revamped its process for monitoring and inspecting Balikbayan Boxes following revelations that these have been used to bring-in illegal items such as car parts and accessories, goods for sale and regulated drugs.
Top supplier of online shopping sites in hot water
Joint inter-agency government operatives raided a warehouse of a top online shop supplier in Binondo, Manila and seized various counterfeit smartphones, electronic gadgets and accessories worth at an estimated P70-Million on Monday (December 15, 2014).
Among the items seized are counterfeit Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy Note, Samsung Galaxy Grand, Iphone 5c, Iphone 5s, Iphone 4s, Nokia Duos, assorted Android tablets of various brands, Apple Shuffle, smartphone casings, power banks, juice blender, and Lacoste perfumes, among others. Some of the seized items do not have ICC marks required for imported electronic products and accessories.
The raided warehouse located in Barraca Street in Binondo belonged to LFA Enterprises who claims to be the number one supplier in the Philippines of electronic gadgets, toiletries, small home appliances, and accessories to various popular online shopping sites.
The raid was conducted by the combined operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Intellectual Property Office (IPOPHL) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) Enforcement (NICE) Team and the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP CIDG), based on the strength of a Warrant of Seizure and Detention (WSD) issued by Port of Manila District Collector Mario Mendoza. The WSD was issued on the complaint of several brand holders and their representatives on the proliferation of counterfeit products being marketed and sold online. Also present during the raid were representatives of several brand holders.
The BOC NICE–CIDG Team is conducting follow through operations and investigations to pin down and file charges against those behind the LFA operations.
According to the National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR), the government has seized P13.3-Billion worth of fake goods in the first 11 months of the year with the biggest contribution coming from the joint operations conducted by the BOC, NBI, PNP, IPOPHL hauling in P9.34-Billion worth of counterfeit products.
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