By Priam Nepomuceno

INTERCEPTED. Apprehended crew members of motorbanca “Vikings” unload master cases of smuggled cigarettes at the Bureau of Customs Sub-Port of General Santos City on May 22, 2024. The Philippine Navy on Tuesday (May 28, 2024) reported that units of the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao intercepted the motorbanca carrying PHP21 million worth of smuggled cigarettes while on patrol off Balut Island, Davao Occidental province. (Photo courtesy of Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao)

MANILA – Naval forces in Eastern Mindanao recently intercepted a motorbanca carrying about PHP21 million worth of smuggled cigarettes.

In a statement Tuesday night, the Philippine Navy (PN) said one of its patrol ships, the BRP Dioscoro Papa (PC-381), was on patrol when it spotted a motorbanca with a “Vikings” marking about 10 nautical miles off Balut Island, Davao Occidental province on May 22.

The ship stopped the motorbanca and upon inspection, Navy officers found 422 masters cases of cigarettes bound for Digos City, Davao del Sur.

The motorbanca’s seven crew members were apprehended, and along with the confiscated items and motorbanca, were turned over to the Bureau of Customs Sub-Port of General Santos City.

They will face charges for violation of Republic Act 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act. (PNA)