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L.A. man accused of smuggling king cobras in potato chip cans

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

A Los Angeles man was arrested on Tuesday after federal prosecutors said he arranged to smuggle into the United States three live, highly venomous king cobra snakes hidden in potato chip canisters.

The man identified as Rodrigo Franco was charged with illegally importing merchandise into the country.

The parcel was said to have come from Hong Kong and was intercepted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents on March 2 containing the 2-foot-long snakes concealed inside the canisters.

Three Albino-Chinese soft-shelled turtles were also found in the package, the prosecutors said.

He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted, although federal sentencing guidelines typically call for less time behind bars. – UNTV News & Rescue

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Iraq seeks exemption from U.S. sanctions on Iran, PM says

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

Iraq’s Prime Minister-designate Adel Abdul Mahdi | Iraqi Parliament Office/Handout via REUTERS

Iraq will send a delegation to the United States seeking an exemption from sanctions against Iran that would allow it to keep importing Iranian gas, Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on Tuesday (December 12).

Washington gave Iraq a 45-day waiver for imports of gas from Iran when it reimposed sanctions on Iran‘s oil sector on Nov. 5. Iraqi officials have said they need around two years to find an alternative source.

Washington is seeking to roll back Iranian influence in the Middle East, including in Iraq, where Iran holds broad sway over politics and trade.

Abdul Mahdi, who assumed office in October after six months of political uncertainty following an inconclusive election, on Tuesday met U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry in Baghdad.

Abdul Mahdi’s office said Perry was in Baghdad with a delegation of over 50 business people. — Reuters

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P3.77-M abandoned goods seized at MICP

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, October 12th, 2018

Courtesy: BOC

MANILA, Philippines —   Boxes of carrots labeled as apples and used clothing from China greeted Bureau of Customs (BOC) inspectors led by Commissioner Isidro Lapeña during an inspection at the Manila International Container Port (MICP).

The boxes of carrots inside six containers are estimated to be worth P1.97 million while the used clothing are worth  P1.8 million.

Commissioner Lapeña said that the misdeclared boxes of carrots arrived at the MICP on August 24, 2018 and were consigned to ASD Total Package Enterprises, Inc.

The container of used clothing which was declared to contain hangers and plastic racks, arrived on September 4 and were addressed to Freccia Prime Marketing, Co.

The consignees of the misdeclared goods are facing various charges.

ASD Total Package Enterprises, Inc. violated Section 117 or the Regulated Importation and Exportation; Section 1400 or the misdeclaration, misclassification, undervaluation in goods; Declaration of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act in Relation to RA 10845 or the Anti-Smuggling Act Of 2016.

Freccia Prime Marketing, Co. is in violation of Section 1400 of RA 10845 or Anti-Smuggling Act of 2016 and RA 4653 that prohibits the commercial importation of textile articles.

BOC warned traders to follow the policies and due process or risk being stripped of BOC accreditation.

“This is the result of our intensified campaign against sa smuggling…I have directed the collectors in all force actually na to be on the watch to be on guard against this kind of syndicated activity to deprive government of the rightful duties and taxes,” Lapeña said.

The Commissioner added that more than 1,000 employees have already been through surprise reshuffling in an effort to improve service.

Meanwhile, seized goods that can still be used will be donated to the Department of Social Welfare and Development to be given to typhoon victims.  — Catherine Joy Maglalang

 

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Rice trading center seen to solve rice smuggling in ZamBaSulTa

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, August 29th, 2018

 

 

The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Food Authority (NFA) are currently studying the establishment of a rice trading center in ZamBaSulTa — Zamboanga City, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.

Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said the measure can curb rice smuggling in the area.

Based on the estimation of the agriculture department, about 2,000 metric tons or 4 million sacks of rice from Vietnam and Thailand are being shipped by smugglers every year.

Piñol said that smuggling is causing the government to lose P2 billion worth of revenues that end up in the pockets of corrupt officials.

Smuggled rice has also made its way to Central Visayas which threatens local farmers in Mindanao who are losing farmhands.

The secretary added that the government’s intensified anti-smuggling campaign caused the dwindling of rice supply in ZamBaSulaTa which resulted in the price hike.

“They[ NFA Council] agreed that smugglers there should be paying taxes to the government and become legal suppliers of rice for the region,” Piñol said.

ZamBaSulaTa is only able to harvest 10 percent of their annual rice requirement of 201,000 metric tons.

The NFA is also currently processing the permit for private importation of 132,000 metric tons of rice through minimum access volume. These will be allocated to affected areas only.

Loans given to farmers through production loan easy access are also expected to boost rice production. — Rey Pelayo

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