BOC discovers P131-million worth of smuggled frozen foods

The Bureau of Customs has found P131.9 million worth of smuggled frozen goods in containers that arrived at the Manila International Container Port, a high official said.

The three containers, consigned to Victory JM Enterprise OPC, underwent thorough physical examination on 12 December, after the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service-MICP received information about misdeclared and undeclared items in the shipments from China.

“We will file the appropriate criminal charges against the consignees as soon as the proper paperwork is done. We need to apply the fullest extent of the law against these groups. They have been making a mockery of our laws and the agency itself for believing that their modus will work every single time,” Customs Commissioner Yogi Filemon Ruiz said.

The consignees declared the shipments to contain only frozen prawn balls, but upon closer examination, Customs agents found frozen meat, garlic short rib, and smoked duck breast in the containers.

The CIIS-MICP first requested the issuance of Pre-Lodgement Control Orders on the shipments on 7 December for suspected violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

Customs Deputy Commissioner Juvymax Uy said that proper coordination was undertaken by the different pertinent departments, leading to the foiling of the smuggling attempt.

“This demonstrates the accuracy of information we get from our sources and the immediacy by which we act to put these people behind bars. As an agency working against syndicates, smugglers, and other criminal groups, we are always up against a big challenge, but I’m confident that our team can handle it,” he said.

For his part, CIIS Director Jeoffrey Tacio recognized what he called the “invaluable contribution” of everyone in the operation, including inputs from the Department of Agriculture.

“This is hard-won. Every successful operation for us is like threading a needle. We have to work together seamlessly for everything to fall into place. Seizing these smuggled items and arresting the responsible individuals are the end goal for every operation,” he said.

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