ZAMBOANGA CITY: Police and customs agents patrolling off Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines intercepted another speedboat loaded with 142 boxes of smuggled cigarettes worth nearly P5 million.

Police said the boat was seized near Manalipa Island before sundown Sunday, August 28. The boat originated in Sulu's Jolo town, according to the local police. It said the shipment — 38 cases of Royal cigarettes and 104 cases of Delta cigarettes — was bound for Pagadian City in Zamboanga del Sur province.

It said the boat was manned by five people who are now in the custody of the Bureau of Customs.

Col. Alexander Lorenzo, city police chief, lauded the operating units for the continuous operation against smuggling while reiterating "that strengthened collaboration with other intelligence units and community support is what makes law enforcement effective."

Last week, police seized over P2 million worth of smuggled cigarettes here and arrested seven people — five of them crew members of a fishing boat transporting dozens of boxes of cigarettes and noodles.

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The boat (F/B Reana), manned by Lijon Salad Albani, Anam Dammang, and Nurhasi – both surnamed Said; and Julkipli Lamalan and Tony Dahi were intercepted on August 27 also near Manalipa Island by patrolling police and customs agents.

The seized contraband was worth over P1 million and came from Jolo town in Sulu province. The cigarettes and noodles were to be delivered to Zamboanga Sibugay's Mabuhay town.

Police also confiscated 32 boxes of cigarettes valued at over P1.1 million from Benhar Tunggal and Aldimar Idjan who were delivering the contraband on Friday when their truck had a flat tire in the coastal village of Sinunuc, according to Maj. Shellamie Chang, a regional police spokesman.

She said the policemen offered help but spotted the contraband during the inspection of the truck.

Two other anti-smuggling operations last week netted over P4 million worth of cigarettes in Sinunuc village here and in Zamboanga Sibugay's Tungawan town. The smuggling of cigarettes, among other commercial products from nearby Sabah, continues unabated in Zamboanga.