SBMA police seize P40M smuggled wines

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – Police operatives from the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) foiled an attempt to smuggle more than P40-million worth of liquor here and seized the contraband even before they could be spirited out of the Subic Bay Freeport on Christmas Eve.

The SBMA Law Enforcement Department seized a total of 1,321 boxes of expensive liquor from a closed van that was about to leave the Freeport on Dec. 24, and from a 40-footer container van parked at the Subic Seaport Terminal.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma lauded the alertness and efficacy of the SBMA law enforcers in foiling the smuggling attempt.

“Some unscrupulous parties would really take advantage of the Christmas season to try to pull away illegal activities in the Freeport, but this only proves that the SBMA Law Enforcement Department is ready at all times to do their duty,” Eisma told newsmen after receiving the report.

“This is a job well done for the SBMA and another huge failure for those who try to use Subic for their smuggling operation,” Eisma added.

According to a report by Maj. Vicente Tolentino, head of the SBMA Law Enforcement Department, the seized contraband included 54 bottles of Remy Martin Louis XIII, which sells as much as P170,000 per bottle, and eight boxes of Remy Martin Centaure De Diamant, which fetches P60,000 per bottle.

Tolentino said the SBMA police began the operation on Christmas Eve after a tipster informed them that a closed van and a Nissan Patrol SUV would attempt to smuggle contraband from the Freeport.

He said that operatives posted along the Argonaut Highway monitored the vehicles and tailed them to the 14th Street Gate where they were stopped by sentries.

The Fuso van, bearing File No. 036404 of BCR Trucking, was driven by 41-year old Julio Flores, along with helper Marvin Arcega, 46 years old. The two failed to present necessary documents when accosted by the police, Tolentino said.

The van contained 275 boxes of Remy Martin Cognac Champagne, 448 boxes of Martini, 66 boxes of Remy Martin XO, 17 boxes of Remy Martin Champagne, 8 boxes of Remy Martin Louis XIII, 8 boxes of Remy Martin Centaure De Diamant, 7 boxes of Remy Martin Club, and 7 boxes of Remy Martin.

A follow-up operation on Thursday led operatives to a white Isuzu Giga cab with the markings “Sinfa Logistics Inc.”, which was parked at the Subic Seaport Terminal in the Boton Wharf.

The 40-footer container van on its trailer contained the rest of the contraband: 333 boxes of Remy Martin, 196 boxes of Remy Martin XO, 1 box of Remy Martin Club, 1 box of Martini, 2 boxes of Remy Martin, and 10 boxes of Remy Martin Louis XIII.

Tolentino said the SBMA police conducted an inventory of the smuggled items last Thursday and Friday in the presence of representatives from the Bureau of Customs, the SBMA Seaport Department and members of the media.

On Friday, Tolentino formally turned over the items and the vehicles containing them to Ciriaco Ugay, OIC-Collector of the Bureau of Customs in the Port of Subic.

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