PH seeks US help in tracing source of smuggled guns
MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) Intelligence Group will seek the help of the United States Department of Homeland Security as well as the International Police to trace the origin of the firearms that were smuggled to the Philippines through a port in Northern Mindanao.
“The guns have serial numbers, which could be traced to their real owner,” Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) officer in charge Alvin Enciso on Thursday, March 3.
On Wednesday, the CIIS seized gun parts at the Mindanao Container Terminal, a sub-port of Cagayan de Oro Port, is in Tagoloan town, Misamis Oriental. The initial suspicion of investigation was that the shipment was possibly part of the smuggling operations involving a United States lawmaker. (READ: US lawmaker trading firearms with PH Muslim rebels)
The gun parts were hidden in two tractors and a second-hand Harley Davidson motorcycle, which in turn were in a 40-foot container van. They were also mixed with tools inside the container to avoid detection.
From the seized parts, customs investigators were able to assemble 4 firearms:
- Glock 42 (.380 caliber)
- Ruger LC (.380 caliber)
- STI (.40 caliber) with Caspian slide
- M4 Spikes Tactical (5.5 caliber)
On Thursday, Enciso said the the BOC Intelligence Group, which is under Deputy Commissioner Jessie Dellosa, is looking into whether the smuggled firearms were stolen in the United States. The unit is also probing a “port operator” for alleged involvement. The misdeclared shipment was consigned to Starling Trading. The customs broker was a certain Oliver Lisondra.
Also seized from the container van were magazines for M4 rifles and handguns, gun cases, night vision goggles, and hand grips. – Rappler.com