Joint operatives from the Naval Forces West (NFW) and Bataraza police station conducted a law enforcement operation that led to the arrest of a suspect and confiscation of P1.2 million-worth smuggled cigarettes and other illegal items in Brgy. Rio Tuba, Bataraza over the weekend.

According to a report released by the Western Command (WESCOM), the operation on April 15 was carried out by a team composed of NFW troops and personnel from the Bataraza Municipal Police Station (MPS) who had been conducting a series of surveillance operations against the suspect, identified as Daud Illias Bulongan, 52, a resident of Sitio Canumay in the same barangay.

During the operation, Bulongan was found in possession of 120 master cases of smuggled New Berlin cigarettes and other items. The joint operatives later turned over the suspect and the seized smuggled cigarettes to the Bataraza MPS for custody and proper disposition.

WESCOM said the joint operatives will continue to monitor and apprehend individuals involved in such activities to ensure the safety and security of the community.

The operation is part of the government’s efforts to combat smuggling and other illegal activities in the country.

Since the beginning of April, law enforcement officials have made nine arrests of people who have broken laws prohibiting the sale of untaxed cigarettes. These arrests have taken place in four distinct incidents at two checkpoints in Puerto Princesa City, one checkpoint in Narra, and in Bataraza in southern Palawan.