MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has filed criminal complaints against the importers of illegal drugs and smuggled sugar before the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The BOC said in a statement on Friday, August 17, that it filed smuggling complaints against Vedasio Cabral Baraquel, the registered owner of Vecaba Trading who acted as the consignee for the importation of 355 kilos of shabu found hidden in magnetic scrap lifters on August 7.
The BOC said the shabu shipment has an estimated value of P2.4 billion. When it first announced the illegal drugs seizure on August 7, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency estimated the shipment volume at 500 kilos.
The complaints against Baraquel are for unlawful importation under Republic Act No 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
The BOC also filed on Thursday, August 16, criminal complaints against the officers of Red Star Rising Corporation, the consignee of an abandoned shipment declared as packaging materials, kitchen utensils, and craft paper but were found to contain refined sugar.
Company executives Dante Lunar, Leonardo Mallari, Richel Paranete Llanes, August Presillas Templado, and Bernie Abrina Rubia face charges of economic sabotage under Republic Act 10845 or the Large-Scale Agricultural Smuggling as Economic Sabotage Act, the BOC said.
The BOC said aside from the misdeclaration, the company had no import permit from the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA). The total estimated value of the sugar shipment, including duties and taxes, is P59,761,849, it added.
The agency also said that the SRA issued a certification that Red Star Rising is not a registered trader, and has no pending application as trader for crop year 2018-2019.
Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña said that the BOC will file “more criminal charges against erring importers and brokers in the coming weeks.” – Rappler.com