Importer of smuggled guns at Misamis Oriental may face 20 years in prison – BOC
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – An official of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in Northern Mindanao said the agency has expanded its investigation into the smuggled firearms that were found concealed inside a container van that was shipped from the US, and has vowed to use the full extent of the law against the importer of the confiscated weapons if no import permit or clearance could be presented.
If the consignee of the imported items would fail to present to the Customs the required papers during the investigation, lawyer Roswald Joseph Pague, deputy customs collector and BOC-10 chief of staff, said they would dispose of the items by way of auction.
The firearms— a Glock 42, a Ruger LC 380, an Sti Claiber 40, and an M4 Spikes Tactical rifle —were discovered by the Customs operatives dismantled and placed inside a washing machine that was hidden through a false wall inside the 40-foot container van.
Pague said the shipper was a retired US Air Force serviceman who did not declare the firearms either to the American customs authorities or to its Philippine counterpart.
He said the retired serviceman might have conspired with the consignee, a businessman from Cagayan de Oro, to smuggle the weapons.
Information gathered by the BOC showed that the shipper was known to be a shooting enthusiast and the handguns and the rifle could have been for his personal use.
The importer, he said, could be charged with violating Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act, for failure to produce the necessary import documents to the Customs. If found guilty, the violator could spend 20 years or more in prison.
Only the used Harley-Davidson motorcycle was declared but Pague said it was confiscated by the BOC-10 just the same after the consignee failed to present an import permit from the Department of Trade and Industry’s Bureau of Foreign Trade.
“A used or second hand motor vehicle or motorcycle requires clearance from the DTI, and the presumption is that if there’s no permit or authorization, so it’s subject to forfeiture,” Pague said.
He said Filipinos wishing to return to the country could bring one motorbike or car but it must be registered to the owner’s name at least six months before the shipment and the owner must first secure a permit from the Department of Finance (DOF).
“If they are really the owners, they can secure a corresponding exemption by way of requesting the DOF to allow them to import the motorcycle or motor vehicle in their name,” he added.
The seized cargo was stripped or opened by the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) upon the order of BOC Deputy Commissioner Jessie Dellosa at the Mindanao Container Terminal sub-port in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental. SFM
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