P6.7M worth of fake cigarettes seized in raid

Operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group- Davao Field Unit  (CIDG-DFU) and the Sta. Ana Police Station seized P6.7 million worth of alleged fake cigarettes from an establishment owned by a Chinese national on Wednesday.

The raiding team seized at least 152 boxes of counterfeit cigarettes from the two warehouses owned by Chinese national Leo Lee Sy, who runs a motorcycle parts shop in Francisco Bangoy Street, Davao City around 7:00 a.m.

CIDG-DFU head Chief Insp. Milgrace Driz, chief of the raiding team, told media that her team implemented the search warrant on Sy following a complaint their office received from Philip Morris and Fortune Tobacco Corporation (PMFTC) Inc.

PMFTC claimed that their products are being counterfeited and sold to the public in the city.

Driz said her team went to the apartment of Sy within the area, informing him of the 42 search warrants issued by Regional Trial Court Branch 19 Retrina Fuentes, on the said complaints.

The suspect accompanied the operatives inside the warehouse and upon their inspection the police discovered the counterfeit PMFTC Inc. known product cigarettes kept in boxes of toys.

Of the total 30 boxes, discovered were Fortune brand cigarettes, 24 boxes of Champion,  23 boxes of More, 36 Marlboro  and 39 Mark cigarettes. All brands are registered patents of PMFTC Inc.

“Almost P3 million excluding value added tax and excise tax loss because of the selling of these products,” she said.

She said Sy could face charges for economic sabotage since he is not paying taxes to the government and violation of Intellectual Property Rights.

After the confiscation, authorities immediately arrested Sy who is now in the custody of Sta. Ana Police Station.

A product specialist of the tobacco company said that each master case contain 50 rims, with each rim contain 10 packs of cigarettes. Each master case has an estimated street value of P10,000 to P12,000 each. 

Except for the Champion brand, the rest are packed in master cases marked as water dispensers and toys. 

Driz suspects that Sy is an undocumented alien because he failed to show pertinent documents during the implementation of the search warrant. 

She said that the Chinese national did not resist the implementation of the search warrant but initially refused to open one of the stock rooms, where most of the suspected master cases of counterfeit cigarettes have been recovered. 

Driz said that they could not yet determine the origin of the contraband as they have yet to conduct further investigation.

She asked the public if they have information such as selling of counterfeit products to immediately report to their office as their help to our government.