Police break up int'l cocaine ring

Over 1.5 tons of cocaine, worth an estimated NIS 2b, seized in biggest drug bust in Israeli history.

November 25, 2008 11:57
2 minute read.
Police break up int'l cocaine ring

Cocaine bust 248-88. (photo credit: )


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

An undercover investigation led by the Coastal Police and the Customs Authority, in cooperation with police from Peru and Spain, has led to the break-up of an international cocaine ring and the largest seizure of drugs in Israeli history. Over a ton and a half of cocaine, estimated to be worth NIS 2 billion, was seized in three raids around the world, which included the seizure of two shipping containers at foreign ports, the head of the Coastal Police's Central Unit, Dep.-Cmdr. Michael Shafshak, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. The drugs were hidden in metal-crushing machines and packed in shipping containers in an effort to avoid detection. According to police, Moshe Elgrabli, 40, of Megadim, a former soccer linesman, allegedly headed the international smuggling network, and Morris Abdelhak, 51, of Kiryat Yam, headed operations on the ground in Peru. Elgrabli fled Israel and was on the run, police said, while Abdelhak was in custody in Peru, together with four Peruvian suspects. Shafshak described an enormous drug-running enterprise in which cocaine was meticulously hidden in the metal crushers and placed on vessels. In one case, a ship carrying 700 kilograms of cocaine left Peru, sailed to Chile, and passed through Spain, from which it was supposed to sail to Jordan. From there, the cocaine was probably meant to be smuggled into Israel, Shafshak said, but police stopped the shipment on October 7 in Valencia, Spain. "We had seen enough, and were ready to stop it there," he said. "We cooperated with the police force of every country the drugs passed through." Shafshak said the drugs were probably also headed for European, Middle Eastern, and African markets. Two days earlier, on October 5, a ship containing 300 kilograms of cocaine was stopped at a port in the Bahamas. On November 13, a planned third shipment of 550 kilograms was seized in Peru before smugglers had a chance to hide the drugs in the machines. "One kilogram of cocaine is worth $50,000, and that's before its weight is increased to raise its street value," Shafshak said. "This is a mortal blow to the cocaine market in Israel, and it will cause serious damage to markets around the world." In addition to the arrests in Peru, two suspects from Kiryat Yam were arrested on suspicion they were tied to the ring, a allegation the two deny. Their remand has been extended by seven days. Coastal Police chief Lt.-Cmdr. Roni Atiya praised his officers, saying, "Impressive technological abilities were used that significantly contributed to the investigation. This is a complex operation that required maximum coordination and precision between Central Unit officers and representatives of Israel Police abroad." Atiya thanked Haifa Customs agents for their role in the investigation. He described the smugglers as "immoral figures who chose to harm society. I'm glad police succeeded in preventing that."

Related Content

Jisr az-Zarq
April 3, 2014
Residents of Jisr az-Zarqa beckon Israel Trail hikers to enjoy their town