The police have thwarted plans to smuggle dozens of kilograms of cocaine from South America into Israel, arresting four Israelis from the south and center of the country two weeks ago.
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For the past two months, police in the Negev region have been conducting an undercover investigation into a smuggling operation thought to span continents.
The cocaine is believed to be manufactured in Paraguay and sent on to Brazil, Spain, Cairo and Taba in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. From there it reaches Israel.
A few weeks ago, a man was arrested at an airport in Brazil. The man, thought to be a Brazilian, allegedly was working as a courier and was on his way to Israel via Egypt carrying two and a half kilos of cocaine.
When the undercover aspect of the investigation ended two weeks ago, the four Israelis in their 30s were arrested. They are suspected of trying to import the drugs brought over by the courier.
The four are due to be held at least until Tuesday. The police say more suspects were arrested in Paraguay possessing 35 kilograms of cocaine. Investigators believe the ring has been operating for about a year.
“The police’s effort to combat drug smugglers who use every means possible to bring illegal drugs into Israel is like a battle of wits,” said the police commander in the south, Yoram Halevy.
“This time we were able to get our hands on a significant number of people who are suspected of using sophisticated and evasive means designed to cover their trail and import commercial amounts of drugs. This is another important step in the southern district’s attempt to stamp out the drug plague.”