Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Lawmen recover 7 smuggled vehicles

THE authorities seized seven luxury vehicles that were allegedly among the 16 cars that were smuggled into the country last October, Customs Commissioner Napoleon Morales said yesterday.

Morales said customs agents seized two Mercedes Benz cars at the Subic Bay Freeport while five other vehicles were seized in Angeles City. The cars were allegedly part of the October shipment, worth about P80 million, that lawmen have been searching for the past four months.

The two Mercedes Benz sedans—an S350 and S550— were been recovered at a warehouse of one of the locators at the free port. The Mercedes Benz S550 has an estimated market value of $86,525 or P4.3 million, while the Mercedes Benz S350 is estimated to be worth $64,900 or P3.18 million.

The five vehicles seized at Angeles were an Infinity FX45, BMW 75li, Audi A8L, Cadillac Escalade EXT pick-up and Escalade SUV. They were found at the premises of the Viper Auto Trading Center in Barangay Cut-cut in Angeles City.

The recovery of the vehicles brought to 12 the number of vehicles recovered by the bureau.

“We have already turned over the vehicles to the Port of Subic under collector Tita Zamoranos. The cars are now under warrant of seizure and detention,” Morales said.

Morales said his men are now conducting an operation in a northern Luzon province he refused to identify to track down the other smuggled vehicles.

“I will not stop until all of the missing vehicles have been recovered,” he said, as he urged those who may have information about the contraband to step forward and infor the authorities.

On Friday, joint operatives of the Task Force Anti-Smuggling headed by its director Alexander Arcilla and Task Force Subic, under retired Gen. Jose Calimlim, seized five luxury vehicles during a raid at Autotrend Car Shop on Timog Street in Quezon City. Seized were one Corvette, a Nissan Armada, two BMWs and an Audi.

The lawmen conducted the raid after Morales received a report that several imported brand new luxury vehicles were stolen from the legitimate importers by two Koreans, who allegedly forged the receipt of the vehicles and spirited them out of the Subic Bay Freeport without paying the proper duties and taxes.

Morales said the bureau will conduct seizure proceedings to determine who were the culprits behind the incident and if there were customs officials involved.

“After the submission of documents, we will also be able to determine who are the culprits behind the incident and who are the customs officers liable for administrative or criminal charges,” he said.
By Joel E. Zurbano - Manila Standard Today


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