6 Tons of Moist Tobacco were Found

The customs inspectors couldn't believe it: this is what was caught inside pebbles

Sophisticated: In the container that arrived from Egypt in which ornamental fountains, pitchers and pebbles were transported, 6 tons of moist tobacco were found inside processed and manufactured fiberglass pebbles

(Photo: Spokesperson of the Tax Authority)

An attempt to smuggle 6 tons of hookah tobacco hidden within pebbles was exposed.

Customs inspectors in Ashdod, in coordination with the Tax Authority, foiled a particularly clever attempt to smuggle hookah tobacco from Egypt into the country, disguised as pebbles, while evading import taxes.

The smuggled tobacco (video: Tax Authority spokesman)

In recent days, an import declaration was submitted to Ashdod Customs for a container that arrived from Egypt. According to the importer's declaration, its contents are 24 tons of decorative fountains, urns, decorative statues and pebbles. The container was directed for physical inspection and examined by Ashdod Customs inspectors.

During the inspection, the inspectors noticed that some of the pebbles are processed and manufactured from fiberglass and are not natural as stated in the import documents. Following this, it was decided to deepen the examination and break several unnatural pebbles. To the astonishment of the inspectors, it turned out that in all the processed pebbles there is a large cavity containing 600 grams of flavored tobacco for hookahs, which was not declared to customs.

The smuggled tobacco (photo: Tax Authority spokesman)

In a thorough inspection conducted, 10,000 processed pebbles were found, with the tobacco removed inside them reaching a total weight of approximately 6000 kg. As can be seen from the method of removal, it appears that the importer acted in a sophisticated and planned manner while investing many resources, in order to deceive the customs inspectors and avoid paying tax.

Hookah tobacco is a highly taxed product, and according to the inspectors' estimates, if the smuggling had not been thwarted, import taxes of a total amount of approximately 2.5 million NIS would have been deducted from the state coffers. The investigation of those involved in the smuggling attempt is underway.

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