Customs Agents Seize Illicit Cash, Cigarettes at Airport

The seized euros (Customs Authority)
The seized euros, in last week’s haul. (Customs Authority)

Customs agents in recent days seized 1,130 packets of cigarettes that two immigrants from the former Soviet republic of Georgia were attempting to smuggle into Israel. The cigarettes were valued at over NIS 250,000, the Customs Authority said Monday.

The smugglers attempted to pass through customs on the “green channel,” but customs officials demanded to see the contents of their luggage – which turned out to be stuffed to the gills with cigarette packets. The two said that they had been asked by a third individual to bring the luggage into the country, but had been unaware of their contents.

According to Yossi Ben Yishai, Customs Authority director at Ben Gurion Airport, there has been a significant rise in recent months in attempts by smugglers to bring illegal cigarettes into the country. The Authority has deployed a number of measures, including dogs trained to detect illicit substances, in order to stop the smuggling.

Meanwhile, a week earlier, customs agents arrested a 19-year -old from France who attempted to smuggle into the country 552,000 euros. The detainee had attempted to pass through the “green channel,” but acting on information passed to them by the Tax Authority offices in Yerushalayim, they detained the traveler and checked his bags, finding an envelope with 7,000 euros in it.

He was taken for a more thorough examination of his bags, and during the course of their examination, the customs officials found the rest of the money – hidden inside a machine used to make cotton candy. Altogether, a count of the smuggle money yielded 552,460 euros. The money was confiscated and the smuggler was detained.