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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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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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BOC destroys P7M worth of forfeited goods

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

(L-R) Used clothing or more popularly known as “ukay-ukay” and boxes of dressed chicken

 

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Tuesday (August 7) destroyed various items seized by the agency for smuggling and which the consignee failed to claim or abandoned.

The overall value of the destroyed contraband was estimated at P7 million which included two containers of used clothing popularly known as “ukay-ukay” and five containers of dressed chicken that arrived in December 2014.

Since the chicken products were decomposing, the agency has decided to process them into fertilizers.

The agency said such move is to show the BOC’s commitment against corruption.

Destruction of forfeited goods, especially those that would pose risks to the public, is part of the mandate of the BOC.

According to BOC representative Atty. Gerald Turiano, the agency is scheduled to go to Laguna to destroy on August 10 items seized it an operation in Pasay City.

The items include shoe imitations and other personal accessories. – JL Asayo / Marje Pelayo

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Chicago mayor calls out ‘shortage of values’ as city copes with gun violence

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

 

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. REUTERS/Jim Young/File photo

 

After a weekend marked by gun violence, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, “there was a shortage of values” as he called on people who knew the shooters to report them.

“Don’t think for a moment people don’t know who in the neighborhood” was responsible, Emanuel said at a news conference on Monday (August 6), adding that people “have a moral responsibility to speak up.”

A violent weekend in Chicago left 12 people dead and dozens more wounded, police said.

Local media reported that 66 people were shot from 6 p.m. on Friday to midnight on Sunday and 12 of those victims died.

Police said most of the shootings are connected to gang violence in the city of about 2.7 million people, the third-largest in the United States. — Reuters

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