P400-M smuggled agri goods seized, thanks to tipster

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Personnel of the Department of Agriculture present the P398 million worth of smuggled agri-fishery products recently intercepted at the Port of Subic.

A joint operation of the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Customs resulted in the seizure of nearly P400 million in agricultural products thanks to a tipster.

Assistant Secretary for DA-Inspectorate and Enforcement Assistant Secretary James Layug said they received information about 57 forty-footer containers allegedly containing smuggled agricultural products. It was found during the inspection that 37 containers were consigned to Asterzenmed Inc., with the other 20 consigned to Victory JM Enterprise.

“Additional charges are yet to be filed against the identified importers for endangering the public’s health and the livelihood of Filipino farmers and fisherfolk,” Layug said.

Officials inspected 12 containers from Asterzenmend Inc. and Victory JM Enterprise consisting of fresh red and white onions, frozen mackerel, frozen buffalo meat, and frozen round scad on 15 December 2022.

Three containers from Hong Kong and nine from China contain agri-fishery products with an estimated market value of P73.9 million.

A follow-up operation was conducted on 20 December 2022, seizing 12 containers from Asterzenmend Inc. and Victory JM Enterprise consisting of white and yellow onions, fresh carrots, boneless beef front feet, and frozen round scad.

The total estimated market value of agricultural products is P71.5 million. One of the containers was from Poland, two were from Hong Kong, and nine were from China.

Another inspection was conducted the following day, with 15 alerted containers consigned to Victory JM Enterprise and Asterzenmed Inc. seized.

More than P101.1 million worth of white/yellow and red onions, frozen round scad, frozen mackerel, frozen pork meat and frozen boneless beef were seized. Two container vans were from Hong Kong, while 13 were from China.

Another operation was conducted on 6 January. Seven containers from China consigned to Asterzenmend Inc. were found to contain smuggled red onion, frozen squid, suckling pig, and other frozen products worth P56 million.

The latest reported operation, which took place on 9 January, resulted in the discovery of five container vans from China, consigned to Asterzenmend Inc., containing squid skewers, wrapped pork, roasted lamb leg, and other assorted frozen products with an estimated value of P43.7 million.

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