Navy troops intercepted P10 million worth of undocumented rice, flour, and other foodstuff believed to be from Malaysia, during an operation off Patikul, Sulu, on Monday.
The operation came barely a week after Navy troops intercepted P15 million worth of other contraband in the same province.
Col. Omar Tonsay, Navy spokesman, said the latest shipment of contraband was found on board the “motor launch” Shayna, which made its last port call in Tawau, Sabah, and was set to dock at the Warid Pier in Jolo.
Operatives of Naval Forces Western Mindanao earlier received intelligence reports that the motor launch was carrying smuggled goods, Tonsay said.
This prompted the command to send members of Naval Task Force 61 to intercept the vessel using BRP Emilio Liwanag near Daingapic Point around 3:20 am, he said.
The motor launch, which had 12 crew members on board, was found to be carrying 12,000 sacks of rice, 1,412 boxes of assorted foodstuff, and 400 sacks of wheat flour, all of which had no importation documents and permits from the National Food Authority, Tonsay said.
Initial investigation by the Navy operatives indicated that the vessel is owned by a certain Jaiton Jadjap and Darcy Tan, both of Port Area, Jolo. The contraband’s owners have yet to be identified.
The Navy has already turned over the vessel, its crew, and the contraband to the Bureau of Customs in Jolo.
The crew might face charges of violating Republic Act 1937 or the Tariff and Customs Code, Tonsay said.
The operation came just days after Navy troops intercepted P15 million worth of undocumented fuel and cigarettes off Tulian Island, also in Sulu, on Oct. 30. (John Roson)
– end –