Dichter: Police Trying to Block Mafia's Bottle Recycling Takeover

Public Security Minister Avi Dichter said yesterday that police are investing great effort and resources toward trying to prevent organized crime from taking over bottle recycling.

Speaking to the Knesset plenum, Dichter added that the police are treating this initiative as part of a broader effort to stop organized crime's takeover of legitimate activities.

According to Dichter, the complexity of the phenomenon requires an integrated inter-establishment effort, in order to deal with the issue in a thorough and efficient manner. This, said Dichter, also requires time.

Dichter stressed that the investigation is being conducted by Tel Aviv District Police and while no arrests have been made so far, some are expected in the future.

"The activities of organized crime and the takeover of the bottle recycling branch is part of an ongoing trend in recent years of infiltration and takeover of legitimate departments by organized crime, as part of the effort to launder money and increase income by these organizations," said Dichter.

Dichter said the takeover is usually conducted through threats, extortion, and severe violence, which is often accompanied by the use of firearms. According to Dichter, this is part of the power struggle between the groups themselves.

The primary motive for organized crime to dominate bottle recycling is monetary profit, as well as the potential to take advantage of the branch for money laundering. Dichter stressed that the criminals involved come from all echelons of crime, including national and local crime organizations, as well as independent criminals.