Syndicate eyed in foiled jewelry smuggling. As stated by a highly trustworthy source in the Bureau of Customs (BoC), the failed attempt to smuggle into the country 24 kilograms of various jewelryvalued at least $1.4 million was possibly the handiwork of a syndicate that has long been operating at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
It is not the first time that it happened. It was a smuggling operation gone awry. Jewelry smuggling is just one of the many similar smuggling operations happening at the NAIA.
Yogi Filemon Ruiz, the Commissioner of Customs, has already given the order for a more in-depth investigation into the incident.
As per an insider, smuggling jewelry is "very easy," and the people who typically engage in this activity are buy-and-sell businesspeople.
These businessmen are in connivance with customs personnel who meet them upon their arrival, then get their bags containing the jewelry so that they will not be inspected anymore at the customs inspection area.- Bureau of Customs
The customs personnel meet the businessmen after they have arrived in the country.
In the incident involving PAL, he stated his conviction that the jewelry that was hidden inside the restroom was supposed to be collected by their inside contact or contacts after the passengers have exited.
"Only customs and immigration personnel have access to the planes coming from abroad. The planes are subjected to inspection," he pointed out.
A boarding crew comprised of members from the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Immigration inspects each and every aircraft that is arriving from another country.
When asked what had gone wrong, the source provided the following explanation:
There might have been some miscommunications, or some people privy to the plan to smuggle the jewelry might have been left out of the deal.- Bureau of Customs
On November 17, illegal jewelry was discovered in the restroom of a Philippine Airlines (PAL) jet that had flown in from Hong Kong and landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
During the process of boarding the aircraft at NAIA Terminal 2, a Customs Boarding Inspector from the Aircraft Operations Division found the pieces of jewelry concealed within the luggage.
As per Ruiz, one of the goals of the investigation is to figure out if any members of the Philippine Airlines flight crew were involved in the attempt to smuggle contraband, along with the aircraft's designated cleaners and catering service.