Gun store owner faces smuggling rap

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 28 2011 12:11 PM | Updated as of Jul 29 2011 06:39 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has filed smuggling charges and charges for unauthorized importation of 'weapons of war and parts' before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against a gun store owner who uses balikbayan boxes in allegedly illegally bringing in firearms and ammunition.

Mark Louie Mendoza, a resident of La Loma, Manila, and owner of Last Resort Armaments based in Makati City, was named respondent in the case. The BOC says he is a consignee of assorted gun parts and accessories contained in 15 balikbayan boxes seized by the bureau in 2 successive operations between July 18 and July 25.

Mendoza's alleged misuse of balikbayan boxes in bringing in his goods was discovered with the help of the United States Department of Homeland Security, Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez said.

The balikbayan boxes were reportedly misdeclared by a certain Marilou Mendoza, the sender, as household goods and personal effects.

Upon inspection and examination, the boxes seized on July 16 were found to contain 39,500 pieces of .22 caliber rimfire long rifle bullets; 9,800 pieces of .22 caliber slugs, 4 pieces of upper receiver assembly of 5.56 caliber TM9 Primary Weapon System MK 107; 40 pieces of JP Compensator with exit hole for .223 caliber; 49 pieces chamber brush; 40 pieces cleaning kits; 3 pieces recoil lugs; 2 pieces speed lock systems and a few choke tubes and recoil lugs.

The July 25 shipment yielded 34,400 pieces of .22 caliber bullets; 9,800 pieces of .22 caliber slugs; 40 pieces JP Compensator; 39 pieces M-16 BPMS parts kit of lower receiver LRPK-16; 4 pieces upper receiver assembly PM9 primary weapon system MK107; 2 pieces speedlock system and various quantities of choke tubes; cleaning rods and polymer.

The seized shipments have a combined value of P7.5 million.

"I would like to thank Joel Longares, president of Atlas Brokerage and X-Press Padala and the US Department of Homeland Security for their support to the anti-smuggling campaign of the government," Alvarez said.