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Naval Forces Intercept ₱4 Million Smuggled Cigarettes Off Davao Occidental

Philippine Navy Intercepts ₱4 Million Smuggled Cigarettes Off Davao Occidental
Philippine Navy Intercepts ₱4 Million Smuggled Cigarettes Off Davao Occidental

In a decisive action reinforcing national sovereignty and maritime security, the Philippine Navy’s BRP Artemio Ricarte (PS37) successfully seized a motorized banca, MB Patay Sapa, carrying smuggled cigarettes valued at approximately ₱4 million. The operation took place in the seawaters southwest of Balut Island, Davao Occidental, on January 3, 2024, as part of the Navy’s territorial defense operations along the RP-RI common borders under the operational control of Naval Task Force 71.

Upon intercepting the suspicious motorized banca, the BRP Artemio Ricarte discovered approximately 100 boxes of Gajah Baru cigarettes with three individuals onboard. Further interrogation revealed the banca’s origin from Indonesia, with Linao, Maasim, Sarangani Province as its intended drop-off location.

The crew, upon arrival at Naval Station Felix Apolinario, Panacan, Davao City, underwent a health assessment. Bureau of Immigration personnel conducted a debriefing where it was disclosed that the boat captain is an Indonesian national, and the other two crew members are Filipino citizens.

This operation underscores the Philippine Navy’s commitment as “Guardians of the Seas” to ensuring national sovereignty, security, and stability, and highlights the continuous efforts to thwart illegal activities and protect Philippine waters.

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