Brazilian authorities arrest Israeli citizen in cocaine bust

Both Israeli and Brazilian authorities participated in an international effort to track the suspects over the last four months.

September 24, 2016 17:17
1 minute read.

Cocaine. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Brazilian Police have placed under arrest an Israeli citizen suspected of being involved in the international drug trade, Army Radio reported Saturday.  

No details have been released about the Israeli citizen's identity.

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Brazilian media said authorities seized 560 kilograms (1,235 pounds) of cocaine hidden in an upscale Sao Paulo neighborhood, detaining at least one Brazilian citizen in the raid. Shortly thereafter, police arrested the Israeli national at a nearby hotel.

Israeli authorities over the last four months had been working with Brazilian police in tracking the suspects, according to Army Radio, who were allegedly importing illegal substances into Israel from Brazil.

Both Israeli and Brazilian authorities, respectively, believe the cocaine originated from neighboring Bolivia, was transported to Brazil and then shipped to Israel and other countries.

Israel Police confirmed that the arrest of the the Israeli citizen was headed by Brazilian authorities in an international effort to stem the flow of illicit substances abroad. 

Earlier this month, Israeli authorities concluded a year-long undercover anti-drug operation, which lead to the arrest of 30 people around Israel suspected of smuggling large amounts of cocaine.

Under the investigation termed “operation 5000,” police inserted a former major drug importer as an undercover agent into cocaine trafficking circles. According to police the suspects planned to separately important around 60 kilograms of cocaine, with an estimated worth of NIS 24-30 million.

Police allege that the drug importers planned to ship the large cocaine stockpiles in the mail through Egypt, Jordan, Cyprus, Spain and Latvia. The suspected drug importers planned to smuggle the cocaine through double-walled suitcases and other means to mislead investigators, according to police.

It was unclear if the two incidents were connected.

Eliyahu Kamisher contributed to this report.

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