Vietnamese vessel, 3 Filipino boats caught with smuggled rice, firearms off Sulu
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – A foreign vessel and three Filipino-owned boats that were loaded with at least 131,000 smuggled imported rice and high-powered firearms were apprehended off Pata Island in Sulu on Monday dawn.
Capt. Maria Rowena Muyuela, spokesperson of the military’s Western Mindanao Command, said elements of the Naval Task Unit (NTU) and the 64th Marine Company held MV An Bien-89-Alci, a ship with 16 Vietnamese crew, including its boat captain Nguyen Van Loi, and loaded with 116,000 sacks of imported rice.
The boat is registered under the Sunrise Ship and Trading Company.
Also apprehended were M/L KH, which was loaded with 7,000 sacks of imported rice, and had 11 crew members and 79 laborers; M/L Fatima Nurmina, which had 1,000 sacks of rice, an M14 rifle and and M16 rifle with M203, and had 12 crew members and 55 laborers on board; and M/L Boy, which was loaded with 7,000 sacks of imported rice, and had seven crew members.
Also seized inside M/L Boy were six M14 rifles and four M16 rifles.
Muyuela could still not give the total value of the intercepted contraband as the boats “are undergoing board and search.”
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