Arrested cigarettes smugglers in Zambo to face drug charges

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Authorities are set to file illegal drug charges against five individuals arrested in an anti-smuggling operation in this city, a top police official said Monday.

This came after the local police, with the help of the K9 unit of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), found a pack of suspected shabu during an inspection of the confiscated contraband in transit.

Joint police and Bureau of Customs (BOC) personnel on Saturday intercepted a motorboat manned by a five-man crew loaded with 30 master cases of smuggled cigarettes worth PHP1,050,000 and 13 boxes of assorted noodles valued at PHP25,500 near Manalipa Island of this city.

Colonel Alexander Lorenzo, Zamboanga City Police Office (ZCPO) director, said Monday the pack of suspected shabu weighing 10 grams worth PHP68,000 was concealed in an ice chest full of fish.

“We are readying charges for violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 against the five crew of the motorboat,” Lorenzo said in an interview.

The arrested motorboat crew were identified as Nurhasi Jibal Said, 52; Julkipli Lamalan, 43; Tony Dahi, 32; Anam Dammang Said, 53; and, Lijon Salad Albani.

Lorenzo said it was the first time they discovered illegal drugs shipped together with smuggled cigarettes.

Joint personnel from the 2nd Zamboanga City Mobile Force “Seaborne” Company and BOC were on patrol when they intercepted the motorboat near Manalipa Island.

The smuggled cigarettes came from Jolo, Sulu and bound for the town of Mabuhay in Zamboanga Sibugay province.

The ZCPO said it has tightened its watch around Manalipa Island, which is currently used as a transit route by smugglers and lawless elements. (PNA)