Customs agents at Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv, prevented a man from smuggling diamonds into the country over the weekend. The man, 43, a resident of Jerusalem, came back to Israel on a flight from Italy accompanied by his wife. He was caught with two packages of diamonds: one wrapped in scotch tape and concealed in his bag, and the other wrapped in toilet paper and concealed in his coat pocket.

The man attempted to enter the country through the green transit lane. His body language and behavior alerted the custom agents, and he was immediately directed to stop for inspection. The agents promptly found the diamond package wrapped in scotch tape in his bag. When asked whether he was carrying more diamonds upon his person, the man replied that he was not.

Acting upon experience and gut feeling, the custom agents directed the man to pass through x-ray imaging. This revealed another package full of diamonds – this one hidden in the passenger’s coat pocket. The package totaled 13 diamonds. On his person, there were also €19,000 and $3,700.

When questioned, the man said that he works in the diamond business in Italy, although he is not registered as a diamond trader in Israel. The man estimated the diamonds to be worth $75,000, and told the agents that his aim was to have them checked and graded in Israel.

Custom unit manager Yossi Ben-Ishay said that attempts to smuggle diamonds into the country have risen of late. As for the smuggler, his case will be decided in the next few days; among the punitive actions that can be taken, it is possible that his diamonds will be confiscated.


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