Cops haul P9M hot cigarettes in Gensan

POLICE Regional Office 12 director, Brigadier General Michael John F. Dubria yesterday announced the arrest of a Chinese national involved in the smuggling of over P9 million worth of cigarettes during an operation in General Santos City on Monday evening.

In a report to Philippine National Police chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, the PRO12 director said that Chinese national Zai Tian Shi was arrested in an entrapment operation at Jerusalem Street in Oringo Subdivision, Barangay City Heights at 9:25 p.m. Monday.

Recovered during the operation were 271 boxes of counterfeit Mighty cigarette manufactured abroad and five reams of Gudang Baru cigarettes worth some P9.4 million and four heat-sealed plastic sachets containing suspected shabu.

According to Dubria, an undercover police officer managed to buy five reams of Gudang Baru cigarettes for P3,000 from the foreigner. The poseur gave the signal to arrest the suspect shortly after the latter took the marked money from him.

The suspect is now being held at the General Santos City Police Station 4 facing criminal charges for violation of Republic Act 10863 or An Act Modernizing the Custom and Tariff Administration, RA 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, Section 76 of RA 10963 or the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion or TRAIN Law and illegal possession of drugs under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Dubria said the successful sting involved members of the PRO12 Regional Intelligence Division, Regional Drug Enforcement Unit, Regional Special Operations Group, Regional Mobile Group and the General Santos City Police Office.

“It is very disappointing that even during the COVID-19 pandemic, deceitful traders did not stop from smuggling illicit items like the cigarettes that they usually sold to unsuspecting patrons,” the Central Mindanao police director said.

Dubria vowed a stepped-up campaign against all forms of smuggling and other criminal activities in the region in the aftermath of the General Santos City entrapment operation.