Cocaine Smuggled in El Al Planes by Company Security Official, Police Suspect

Suspects also include a former Shin Bet official; investigation launched after drugs were seized on a flight arriving from Johannesburg

Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner
An El Al plane in 2010
An El Al plane in 2010Credit: \ Moti Milrod
Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner

Israel Police suspect a senior El Al security employee, a former Shin Bet security services official and two others smuggled a large quantity of cocaine in El Al planes.

Israel Police dubbed the suspected felonies "a wide-ranging affair," while Magistrate Court judge Guy Avnon said the smuggling ring was extensive.

According to a source familiar with the matter, the investigation began after drugs were seized on Monday on a flight arriving from Johannesburg.

The main suspect is Rami Yogev, a high-ranking employee in El Al's security division suspected of using his status in order to smuggle the drugs. His lawyer said Yogev's work includes coordination between the Shin Bet and El Al's security staff. Yogev has a high security clearance, and is also in charge of El Al's security abroad as well as the planes' security. Police also raided Yogev's offices at El AL's security wing at Ben-Gurion International airport.

The implicated Shin Bet official was identified as Beno Shalom. Yogev and Shalom were ordered to be held in custody for a further nine days; the third suspect was also ordered held for nine days and the fourth ordered held for three days.

Shalom worked on behalf of the Shin Bet in the 1990s, when he was embedded with right-wing activists in Kiryat Arba. According to those activists, Shalom's cover was blown when he proposed carrying out a shooting attack on Palestinians. His attorney said he later worked for the Mossad, during which he also participated in special operations.

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