P3.9M counterfeit cigars seized in Bulacan

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga — Some P3.9 million worth of counterfeit cigarettes of different brands were seized by government agents following raid in three separate stalls inside the public market of Baliuag, Bulacan leading to the arrest of four suspects over the weekend, police said. 

Police Lt. Colonel Jay Dimaandal, chief of the Special Concerns Unit of the Regional Intelligence Division (SCU-RID), identified the suspects as Lloyd Francis Dimaranan, 26, of Barangay Taracan, Victor Lopez, 58, of Brgy. Sta. Barbara, Dorothy Dimaano-Sayo, 46, of Brgy. Sto Nino and Marilou del Rosario Torres, 46, of Brgy. Sto. Cristo all of Baliuag, Bulacan. 

Dimaandal said the raid was conducted on the strength of seach warrant issued by a local court in Bulacan due to complaint filed by Japan Tobacco International against unscrupulous entrepreneurs engaged in the sale of fake cigarettes being distributed to convenient stores in Bulacan areas. 

The raiding team, DImaandal said is composed of representatives from JTI, Tobacco Striking Force of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), and intelligence operatives from SCU-RID and Regional Mobile Force Battalion3, rushed-up inside the public market and went straight to the suspects stalls where fake cigarettes are being displayed and sold openly. 

JTI and BIR personnel made an inventory of the recovered items in the presence of stall owners, said Dimaandal. 

Seized from the suspects stalls  58 boxes of RGD cigarettes; 26 reams of D&G cigarettes; three boxes and one bosx and 12 reams of Mighty Cigarettes; seven boxes of Two Moon cigarettes; three boxes and one ream of Fortune blue cigarettes; 1 box and 13 reams of Marvel cigarettes; five reams of Marlboro; 11 reams of Jackpot cigarettes and 13 reams of Champion cigarettes.

During interrogation, Dimaandal said the suspects admitted they bought items from a businessman who pointed the source in Binondo, Manila. 

Lawyer Ma. Rhona S. Vergara, of JTI, and representatives from BIR Striking Force witnessed the inventory of seized items. They vowed to file criminal complaints against the suspects for violations of the Intellectual Property Rights, Tarrif and Customs Law and Tax Code.  

Dimaandal said the suspects were apprised of their constitutional righst and were brought to SCU-RID for custody pending the filing of charges against them.

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