Illustrative photo of handcuffs.
(photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
An Israeli national was arrested in Colombia this week and subsequently expelled from the country after the Colombian National Police found him a risk to the country's national security.
Assi Ben-Mosh is accused of having been the ring leader of an illegal tourism network whose trips offered travelers drugs and underage prostitutes, among other criminal activities. He and his associates are also accused of tax fraud.
Nine others were arrested in conjunction with Ben Mosh's detention.
Ben Mosh owns several hotels in Taganga, where he has lived for the last decade. His name has been known by the local Santa Marta police for years, as he has thrown wild parties in the town, many of which were raided by police for disrupting public order. Following his expulsion, his properties are to be seized by the government.
Ben Mosh moved to the small village of Taganga after his service in the IDF. Together with several other Israelis, he sat at the helm of a criminal gang. Five years ago, El Tiempo, a Colombian newspaper, reported that the gang ''believed themselves to be untouchables...they decide where the street vendors are located, they are the foremen...they command more than the police command.''
In 2010, police recovered 325 kg (715 lbs.) of cocaine that had been hidden in a cove near Taganga. The drugs, which were believed to have been the property of Ben Mosh's gang, were valued at $8 million.
Ben Mosh's run-ins with the law are not limited to Colombia, however. In 2003, he was arrested in Holland on suspicions of running an international drug smuggling ring; 14 other Israelis, located in countries around the globe, were also arrested for their alleged links to Ben Mosh. He is said to have started his illegal enterprise on the streets of Tokyo, where he sold jewelry and other goods stolen from tourists.