Israel Police Arrest 70 Suspects in Large-scale Police Drug, Arms Bust

Months-long undercover operation led to arrests on suspicion of drug-dealing, extortion, arms trade and other charges; detainees include released prisoners, a minor and three women.

Israel police arrested 70 suspects overnight Tuesday in a large-scale police operation that brought a months-long undercover effort to an end.

The detainees, from cities all over Israel, were arrested on suspicion of drug dealing, extortion, arms trade, and other charges. Some of the suspects include released prisoners, a minor and three women.

Israel police.
Moti Kimche

Many of the prisoners belong to the gang of known criminal Michael Mor. Mor, who is currently overseas, was not arrested.

Other influential figures in the crime scene were arrested, including some from the Arab sector. Hagai Dotan, commander of the police force's Coastal District, said, "Arresting these prisoners will cause considerable damage to the foundations of organized crime, and will impact the scope of crime, all over Israel."

The operation was conducted by hundreds of Coastal District police under the command of Eli Assayag. The undercover investigation began a few months ago. The Central Police Unit deployed two undercover agents, one of them from Israel Police. The second undercover agent that was enlisted to the project is a released prisoner from a village in the north aged in his forties. He began acting as an undercover police agent while he was still serving his prison sentence, and continued working as an undercover agent after his release.

Over the past year, the two undercover agents purchased weapons, drugs and more, and even managed to purchase a machine gun, pistols and explosive devices. The investigation was accompanied by representatives of the State Attorney, so as to gather sufficient evidence and serve indictments.

A senior police official told "Haaretz" that "these arrests will severely damage a number of crime organizations, at the top of which is that of Michael Mor." According to the same official, Mor appears to be trying to operate from overseas to assist the members of his gang, and he is expected to be under close police surveillance. The official said the arrests will severely damage Mor's organization.

All the suspects will be brought to the magistrates courts in Haifa and Acre on Wednesday, to extend their detention. Throughout the day, additional prisoners, who police were unable to locate overnight, will be arrested.