P100M worth of smuggled gadgets seized in Pampanga

PAMPANGA, Philippines – An anti-smuggling task force at Clark Freeport Zone confiscated hundreds of boxes of misdeclared and undervalued mobile phones and sports watches from Hong Kong as they were being brought into Metro Manila on Friday, July 12. 

Arnel Maguillo, deputy director of Task Force Aguila (TFA), said about 6,900 units of Vivo, Huawei, and Xiaomi phones and tablets, and 1,090 sports watches were found inside two trucks.

He said the two vehicles with plate numbers CAP 6868 and CAK 7736 were intercepted at the TFA checkpoint near the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) tollgates here around 11 am.

The task force set up a checkpoint after receiving information that "voluminous boxes" of imported electronics were being loaded into two aluminum canter vans at the United Parcel Service facility here and were set to be transported outside the freeport zone.

The apprehended trucks were brought to the TFA compound here and the task force coordinated with the Bureau of Customs (BOC) Clark office for the inventory of the seized items, which turned out to be misdeclared and undervalued.

Maguillo said the truck drivers and the shipment's consignee identified as Marvin Magalicar, who allegedly introduced himself to TFA operatives as a mere helper of the drivers, were questioned about the attempted smuggling.

When TFA director Retired Major General Francisco Cruz Jr personally interviewed Magalicar, the latter admitted that the confiscated items were consigned to him but added that his name was allegedly just used by his boss, Jefferson Gan, a BOC officer.

The task force also learned that one of the trucks carrying the seized items is owned by Gan, while the other one is owned by one Jairus Reyes, also a BoC employee here.

The two truck drivers told TFA that they had picked up shipments from the UPS facility here and delivered them to a building along Arellano Street in Makati City several times in the past.

An initial inventory showed that hundreds of boxes of seized items contained the following: 

Online sellers in the Philippines offer the Vivo V15 Pro at around P24,000 per unit, while a Xiaomi Mi Pad 4 can be bought at around P15,000.

Maguillo said the misdeclared and undervalued shipment and the two trucks had been turned over to the BOC here for proper legal disposition and the filing of appropriate charges for the attempted smuggling of the electronic gadgets.

"Customs authorities have estimated to not less than a hundred million (pesos) the total value of the confiscated items," he said. – Rappler.com