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Leland Yee smuggling case spurs review of exportation procedures

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California state Sen. Leland Yee. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Bureau of Customs (BOC) Chief John Philip Sevilla ordered a review of existing procedures on exportation following reports that California State Senator Leland Yee managed to smuggle high powered firearms from the Philippines to the US.

Yee was arrested by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation on charges of corruption and alleged conspiracy to smuggle and trade firearms from the country.

The FBI said Yee was in touch with one Wilson Lim who used to be based in Mindanao but now living in California. The latter allegedly had contacts in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the high-powered firearms that would be smuggled into the US.

According to the FBI, Yee also disclosed to an undercover agent that the source of the weapons was a Filipino citizen who previously sold guns to individuals, and even managed to bring guns to the US from Cagayan de Oro City.

At a press conference, Sevilla said they have checked ports in Mindanao and Cagayan De Oro but could not find any indication of exported firearms.

“We are now checking the existing procedures regardless of what port to make sure that this will not happen again,” Sevilla said admitting that their current focus is the importation of goods.

“This is a good reminder na pwede ring magkaroon ng illegal activity sa exportation,” Sevilla said but added that so far, they could not find any evidence of illegal activities involving Yee in the country.

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