10 suspects arrested, P3.3M in gasoline seized in Tawi-Tawi

TEN fuel smugglers have been arrested in Tawi-Tawi following a police operation.

Seized from the suspects were 400 drums full of gasoline with an estimated value of P3.3 million; a motorboat  marked “Princess Sahra” with an estimated value of P2.5 million, according to Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, officer-in-charge of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in a statement.

The smugglers, who were arrested on Thursday in Barangay Parang Pantay, Languyan, were identified as Saldi Sali, 29; Kads Abdulmajid, 37; Tanong Sali, 28; Asti Tuwad, 32; Pepe Mdyusof 25; Toto Poteh Abdulgafur, 38; Raki Idris, 30; Moktaden Daud, 37; Toy Iya, 39; and Puwa Idris — all residents of Tandubas, Tawi-tawi, according to Police Brig. Gen. John Mitchell Jamili, director of the Philippine Maritime Group (PMG)

Investigation revealed that at around 5 p.m. of March 18, 2021, joint operatives of the Special Operations (SOU) Unit 1 Regional Maritime Unit Maritime Group (Lead Unit), Bureau of Customs (BoC), Philippine Coast Guard and Task Force Aduana were patrolling the coast near Barangay Parang Pantay when they saw a yellow motorboat that immediately sped off when it sensed the presence of the operating team.

A chase ensued that resulted in the capture of the crew and after proper boarding procedures, police discovered the gasoline drums and other goods with no pertinent documents, said Jamili.

The suspects were arrested for the violation of Republic Act (RA) 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, said Eleazar.

The arrested suspects together with the confiscated items are now under the custody of SOU1 Maritime Group for documentation prior to the turnover of the evidence to the BoC and the filing of appropriate cases in court.