By NITZ ARANCON
THE state-of-the-art cigarette-making equipment seized in Villanueva town, Misamis Oriental alone have been valued at P359.740 million, a report submitted to Camp Alagar by the the Misamis Oriental Provincial Police Office showed.
The equipment exclude the ones seized in a warehouse at Alwana compound in Cugman, this city, early this week.
The provincial police’s report, sent to Camp Alagar by Senior Insp. Arlyne Ranario with authority from police director for Misamis Oriental Senior Supt. Rolando Destura, contradicted earlier reports that the raids in Villanueva town and Cugman early this week resulted in the confiscation of only some P30 million worth of equipment.
Police said the warehouse in Tuboran, Poblacion 1, Villanueva, Misamis Oriental alone yielded three packing machines, two wrapper machines, two cigarettes makers, and some fake tax stamps given a value of P300 thousand during the raid on Wednesday.
Senior Insp. Dennis Ebsolo said the machines were too heavy that authorities opted to just padlock the Villanueva warehouse and have it guarded.
The raids, carried out by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Caraga, Bureau of Internal Revenue, and local police units uncovered a crime syndicate that has been counterfeiting popular cigarette brands here.
The Villanueva warehouse was traced to one Michael Shi. There were John and Jane does.
Ebsolo said the suspects are facing charges of tax evasion, falsification of tax stamps, trademark infringement, unfair competition, and false designation of origin/description/representation.