Government agents take inventory of the dozens of reams containing alleged illegal cigarettes that were confiscated during an operation at the Cogon public market in Cagayan de Oro Wednesday, April 26. (Photo courtesy of the CIDG Cagayan de Oro field unit)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – A team of government agents has arrested a businessman for allegedly selling 280,000 peso worth of illegal cigarettes.

Personnel from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Cagayan de Oro, the city intelligence unit, local police, and the City Health Office confiscated a total of 887 cartons of cigarettes from the suspect at the Cogon public market on April 26.

Bernard Pacho, 33, a native of Zamboanga City sold various cigarette brand names and colors such as Commando, Nelson, Seven King, Champion, Establish, Hero, Modern, Green Hill, San Marino, Marbles, New Orleans, Astro, Dreamon, 2M, Gift, and Cannon. He is currently residing in Barangay Balubal, this city.

Pancho will be facing charges for allegedly violating Republic Act (RA) 10643 or an Act to Effectively Instill Health Consciousness through Graphic Health Warnings on Tobacco Products; RA 8293, the intellectual property code; and RA 7394, the consumer act of the Philippines.

Meanwhile, the police station in Barangay Cugman this city has turned over 50 boxes of alleged smuggled cigarettes to the Bureau of Customs (BOC) Cagayan de Oro on April 19.

A report posted by the agency on its Facebook page quoted Capt. John Real dela Cerna, the Cugman police station commander, as saying a truck driver surrendered to them the cigarettes “upon discovering that the boxes they were about to deliver from Zamboanga to Dasmariñas, Cavite contained cigarettes contrary to the declaration of the person who hired them that it contained motor parts and accessories”.

BOC CDO said the undocumented cigarettes totaling 4,802 reams or 48,020 packs were branded as “San Diego Menthol and Lights” and have an appraised value of Php 7.9 million.

The tobacco products were handed over by dela Cerna to Oliver Valiente, BOC Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service field station chief for Cagayan de Oro and Surigao; Allan Cruz, commander of the BOC Enforcement and Security Services; and Miguel Oscar Pizarro, BOC CDO deputy collector for operations.

The agency said Alexandra Lumontad, BOC CDO district collector, will issue a warrant of seizure and detention against the subject smuggled goods in violation of the RA 10863 (Customs Modernization and Tariff Act) upon the recommendation of ESS-CDO and CISS CDO and Surigao.

“The Bureau of Customs Port of Cagayan de Oro vowed to continue its coordination and cooperation with other law enforcement agencies to suppress all forms of smuggling through the guidance and support of BOC Commissioner Bienvenido Y. Rubio,” the BOC CDO said. (

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