New Immigrant Caught With 2,200 Packets of Smuggled Cigarettes

YERUSHALAYIM -
Travelers seen at the departure hall of Ben Gurion Airport. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

A new immigrant to Israel got his wish, and then some, after a Rishon LeTzion court on his second day in the country slapped an order on him banning him from leaving the country for 180 days. The reason? The immigrant had attempted to smuggle 2,228 packets of cigarettes into Israel.

The incident occurred on the immigrant’s official “aliyah flight,” as he registered to become a citizen at Ben Gurion Airport. The cigarettes were packed into 19 suitcases, which the man attempted to bring into Israel via the “green line” customs lane, where travelers who have no belongings requiring the payment of duty pass through. The taxes that should have been collected on the cigarettes came out to about NIS 500,000, the Customs Authority said.

The immigrant claimed that his “personal effects” were in the suitcases when he was flagged, and that he had a permit to bring in so much luggage. But a quick inspection of the luggage yielded the contraband, which was seized. The man was arrested and spent a night in jail. On Tuesday, the court released him on a NIS 50,000 bond – and ensured his status as an Israeli resident by banning him from leaving the country.