Police on Tuesday dropped their case against underworld kingpin Amir Mulner - arrested last month in connection with a massive cocaine trafficking network involving drug runners from Panama and senior Israeli crime figures - after conceding that not enough evidence existed to link him to the smuggling ring.
Mulner, an explosives expert, was released from custody and taken back to prison, where he is serving time for an unrelated conviction for illegal firearm possession and conspiracy to commit a crime.
Police did, however, bring 17 additional suspects in the case to the Ramle Magistrate's Court for an arraignment hearing.
At least nine suspects from the 23 arrested over the past two months will face trial after police submitted prosecution statements against them - a precursor to an impeding indictment. They include Uri Luzon and Guy Weberman, both considered to be deputies of Mulner. More suspects will likely be indicted.
Police have also had to drop their case against senior mob boss Ze'ev Rosenstein, who was arrested in prison, where he is serving a 12-year drug trafficking sentence, for allegedly ordering the killings of an underworld rival and two bodyguards in Tiberias in 2001.
Rosenstein's arrest came after a suspect arrested in the cocaine case turned state's witness and linked Rosenstein to the murders.
Police have since concluded that the evidence against Rosenstein in the case was insufficient.