Police on Tuesday arrested 10 people on suspicion of running a human organ trafficking ring.

The traffickers are accused of matching poor kidney donors with those requiring urgent transplants, before pocketing most of the profits and failing to pass them on to donors – despite promising them financial rewards.

“This ring exploited the distress of people – both donors and those who needed organs,” a police spokesman said. Suspects allegedly found donors suffering from financial difficulties and lured them into giving up their kidneys.

“The suspects failed to tell them about the medical risks, including side effects and complications, [and failed to arrange] for medical care after the procedure,” the spokesman added.

Some of the operations allegedly occurred in Kosovo and Azerbaijan.

The arrests followed an undercover investigation the Lahav 433 national police unit launched over several months in conjunction with the Tax Authority.

It is part of a wider police effort to prevent the illegal trafficking of organs from live donors.

The investigation began after foreign police forces contacted the Israel Police with intelligence about the network and its activities abroad, and sought out Israeli assistance in taking down the ring.

All suspects will appear at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court Wednesday morning for a remand hearing, on accusations of tax offenses and of causing grievous bodily harm.

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