Bureau of Customs files charges vs alleged vehicle smuggler | Global News
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Bureau of Customs files charges vs alleged vehicle smuggler

MANILA, Philippines—(UPDATE) The Bureau of Customs on Thursday sued suspected car smuggler Lynard Allan Bigcas and five of his alleged cohorts for bringing in 29 luxury motorcycles and cars without paying the appropriate customs duties and taxes.

In a news briefing at the Department of Justice, Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez said Bigcas and his alleged accomplices violated the Tariffs and Customs Code when they deliberately failed to pay the necessary import taxes for the motor vehicles which were seized by authorities in Bigcas’ warehouse in Talakag, Bukidnon, last month.

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Aside from the Filipino-American businessman, also charged were Noeh Alcala, Joshua Bigcas, Gilbert Omolon, Luke Alcala and Lyann Bigcas.

The accused were also charged with falsification of public documents for registering the vehicles with the Land Transportation Office without securing the proper documents from the Bureau of Customs.

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According to Alvarez, the bureau’s Run After The Smugglers (RATS) group will also file criminal and administrative charges against LTO and Customs officials who facilitated the smuggling and registration of the vehicles in question.

“The vehicles would not have been registered without the connivance of some corrupt officials in the LTO and Customs,” Alvarez said.

“It came as a really big surprise to us why inspite of the nonpayment of duties and taxes yet the LTO was able to register this. This is the reason why we have an intention of amending the charge sheets to include the LTO officials,” Alvarez explained.

“There were no documents on record that would support the allegation that the seized vehicles cleared Customs as luxury vehicles and motorbikes…What that means is that the smuggled cars and big bikes were most likely withdrawn from customs jurisdiction after being misdeclared as something else,” said Customs Deputy Commissioner Gregorio Chavez, also the executive director of RATS.

Alvarez meanwhile said they would petition the National Bureau of Investigation and the courts to immediately cede to the BoC the custody of the confiscated vehicles against which warrants of seizure and detention were issued as early as May 9 this year.

“The multiple violations by the respondents of anti-smuggling provisions of the Tariff and Customs Code warrant the forfeiture of all subject vehicles in favor of the BoC,” Alvarez said.

Bigcas, a resident of Houston, Texas was tagged in the alleged smuggling of 29 luxury vehicles, 11 of which, including the Martin Brothers Harley Davidson Big Dog Bike of Hollywood screenwriter Skip Woods, were confirmed stolen by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The search for Woods’ $80,000 bike led to the discovery of the luxury vehicles in Mindanao.

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TAGS: BoC, Bureau of Customs, Crime, Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez, Judiciary, Lynard Allan Bigcas, Smuggling, Transport
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