A Colombian cocaine ring that smuggled drugs into southern Israel was smashed this month, leading to the arrests of Colombian and Israeli suspects, police announced on Thursday.
An undercover investigation was opened on April 7 by the Lachish police subdistrict’s Central Unit, after intelligence was received on the import of Colombian cocaine to a known drug dealer in Ashdod, police said.
“Detectives began tracking the activities of the suspected importer, Rafi Asraf, 55, from Ashdod, who has previous drugs offenses convictions,” police added.
Officers then raided his home and seized 770 grams of cocaine, divided into 85 portions. Asraf was arrested, but refused to cooperate with officers during questioning.
Police subsequently located a Colombian in Tel Aviv who allegedly was responsible for importing the cocaine.
An undercover officer pretending to be a drug dealer contacted the suspect and asked to buy drugs. During a meeting between the two in Tel Aviv, the undercover officer was shown samples of the cocaine. Officers raided the meeting and arrested the suspect, along with a woman, both Colombians living in Israel illegally. The woman is suspected of being an accomplice to narcotics offenses. Cocaine on their person was seized during the arrest.
During a third stage of the investigation, additional members of the alleged smuggling ring were tracked down and arrested in an apartment which police said was used as a “drugs preparation station,” where narcotics were mixed with other chemicals and divided into portions for sale.
“Mixers, gloves, bottles containing various chemicals... were seized, as were computers and cellphones used by the members of the ring to communicate with drug dealers,” police said.
Detectives believe the network is headed by a man based in Colombia who
routinely dispatched “drug mules” to travel from Colombia to Israel and
deliver the drugs.
The two Colombian suspects were indicted on Thursday and ordered held in custody until the end of legal proceedings.
“This was a professional investigation that crossed district lines and
led to the exposure of a drug ring,” the Central Unit’s Dep.-Cmdr. Alon
Southern District police chief Cmdr. Yochanan Danino praised the
Lachish Central Unit for its “uncompromising enforcement... which led
to the arrest of criminals.”