Suspect in El Al Cocaine Smuggling Ring Turns State Witness; Police Uncover Weapons Cache 

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Suspect in El Al Cocaine Smuggling Ring Turns State Witness; Police Uncover Weapons Cache

 

Israel Police have announced they arrested 11 suspects involved with a massive cocaine smuggling ring using El Al Israel Airlines planes, and that they have reached an agreement with one of the suspects to turn state witness.

As YWN reported previously, the leading suspect is Rami Yogev, a high-ranking employee in El Al’s security division, suspected of using his status to smuggle the drugs, estimated as being worth hundreds of millions of shekels. A former Shin Bet official, Beno Shalom, and two other suspects have previously been implicated in the alleged smuggling.

Seven additional suspects, including an IDF employee and several who have been previously linked to drug-related offenses, have been arrested in the case over the past couple weeks. One of the seven has reportedly agreed to cooperate with the prosecution.

In another development in the case, police on Sunday discovered a weapons cache located in the center of the country, reportedly used to manufacture and store various weapons as seen in the photos. It remains unclear at present what the weapons were used for.

The investigation of the case began in November after 15 kilograms (33 pounds) of drugs were found in the luggage of an Israeli citizen arriving on a flight from Johannesburg, South Africa. The suspects allegedly smuggled the drugs, later to be sold in Israel, using couriers, for the most part aboard Johannesburg to Tel Aviv flights.

Police explain persons involved acted like a crime family, organized and methodical in all aspects of the operation, as they smuggled drugs into Israel on numerous occasions. In each case, Yogev, the El Al official, was pivotal in the operation, by not reporting what was taking place and ensuring that the shipments were kept far away from the enforcement authorities at Ben Gurion airport.

The suspects’ detention have been continuously extended by the Magistrate’s Court in Rishon LeTzion.

The investigation is being conducted by the Israel Police and accompanied by the Tel Aviv District Attorney’s Office.

 

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