A Vietnamese ship along with three Filipino-owned boats were caught loaded with at least 131,000 smuggled imported rice sacks, as well as several high-powered firearms. The mega-load was apprehended off Pata Island in Sulu in the early hours of Monday morning.
Captain Maria Rowena Muyuela, spokeswoman of the military’s Western Mindanao Command, said elements of the Naval Task Unit and the 64th Marine Company caught a ship with 16 Vietnamese crew, including its boat captain Nguyen Van Loi, and loaded with 116,000 sacks of imported illegal rice.
The boat is registered under the Sunrise Ship and Trading Company of Vietnam.
Also apprehended were M/L KH, which was loaded with 7,000 sacks of imported illegal rice, including 11 crew members and 79 laborers; M/L Fatima Nurmina, which had 1,000 sacks of illegal rice, an M14 rifle and and M16 rifle with M203, and had 12 crew members and 55 laborers on board; and M/L Boy, which was loaded with 7,000 sacks of imported illegal rice, and had seven crew members. The M/L Boy had 6 M14 rifles and 4 M16 rifles
Muyuela could still not give the total value of the intercepted contraband as the boats are undergoing board and search to find additional contraband.