An Israeli Customs Authority investigation in Ashdod and Haifa led to the arrest of Raami Mohammed Duasi from the Palestinian Authority.
Duasi was arrested after attempting to smuggle 5 tons of smoking tobacco into Israel, while also attempting to avoid paying millions of NIS in taxes.
The indictment said Duasi smuggled hundreds of bags of what was declared as "sawdust" into Israel, weighing a total of 15 tons. The bags were sent to be hand-checked and were found to contain 198 smuggled bags containing 5 tons of tobacco, a taxable import.
The taxes on the goods would have totaled 2,700,000 NIS.
The importer also did not receive the requisite approval from the Health Ministry to import tobacco.
After his attempt to smuggle the goods into Israel was discovered, their intended address was found to be in the town of Barta'a in the Palestinian Authority. There, the smuggled tobacco was to be stored and sold.
The suspected importer was interrogated and admitted his connection to the affair. Ashkelon's Hashalom Court extended his arrest until Monday.