By Jim Lloyd Dongiapon
Police authorities seized a wing van carrying smuggled cigarettes amounting to an estimated ₱7 million at around 7:00 PM Tuesday, January 10, at a random checkpoint in the municipality of Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur.
According to a report from the Labangan Municipal Police Station, they got a tip yesterday around 3:00 PM about a wing van with the license plate CAK 1783 that was making its way from Zamboanga City to Bukidnon carrying illegal cigarettes.
A random checkpoint was immediately set up at the Labangan Junction, close to the town’s public market, by the Labangan MPS, under the direction of Police Captain (PCapt.) Jovencio Salazar Bucog, to intercept the suspected vehicle.
The police asked the driver of the wing van to present documents pertaining to the cigarettes being transported when the vehicle arrived at the checkpoint. However, the driver did not offer any to demonstrate that the goods were not being transported in violation of the law.
Once the wing van was opened by the authorities, they found at least 200 boxes of illegal cigarettes, with a market value of ₱7 million.
Labangan Mayor Eduardo Relacion, Zamboanga Del Sur Police Provincial Director PCol. Diomarie Albarico, Chief of the Provincial Intelligence Unit, PLt. Col. Ycer Noah Aniversario, and the head of the Labangan MPS, PCapt. Jovencio Salazar Bucog, all witnessed the operation firsthand.
The Labangan MPS now has custody of both the vehicle and the seized cigarettes.
Authorities are currently conducting a more thorough investigation to find the owner of the smuggled goods.
The operation was part of Zamboanga del Sur Governor Victor Yu’s intensified campaign against smuggled cigarettes entering the province.
Meanwhile, Mayor Relacion has warned that those who engage in illegal activities such as smuggling within their jurisdiction will be apprehended. (Photo courtesy of IGMAT Labangan)